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General liability insurance (GLI) is a special type of insurance primarily aimed at businesses. GLI offers a wide range of protection against both accidents and property damage that occurs at your workplace. There are many GLI providers to choose from. Each provider offers different coverage, based on your needs. In most cases, the more expensive the package, the better the coverage. Some plans are designed with larger companies in mind, while other, more affordable plans are meant for small businesses. Some insurance providers refer to these plans as commercial general liability insurance.
Some GLI plans are sold as part of a larger bundle, known as a business owner’s policy. These plans are normally used by larger businesses since they need more liability protection than smaller businesses. The price for GLI greatly varies depending on the size of your business. Most small businesses pay between $300 and $600 each year, or roughly $20 to $45 each month. For larger businesses, it is closer to $70 to $90 each month.
Liability claims refer to any instance where your business is responsible for damage occurring. This most commonly refers to either bodily or property damage, but GLI coverage may also extend to copyright infringement or damaged reputation.
Bodily damage covers accidental harm to both customers and employees. Without GLI, someone who slips and falls at your business can sue you for medical expenses and other damages. GLI protection is not limited to your place of business. For example, if you run a construction company, GLI would also apply if one of your employees was accidentally injured on site.
The property damage clause is similar to the bodily harm clause. If a customer’s property is damaged, such as a window breaking in your parking lot, you are protected. GLI coverage is quite extensive. In addition to covering medical expenses or costs to replace damaged property, you are also covered for administrative and court costs related to the case.
Reputational harm keeps you safe from certain libel or slander claims. With these claims, a rival business argues something you said or did hurt their company. This does not mean you can baselessly insult your competition, but it does protect you against unintended consequences. For example, if you run an advertisement saying your business offers the lowest rates in the state, a rival business could not sue you for harming their business. If you said your business was better because a rival business lies to their customers, you would not be covered by reputational harm.
Copyright Infringement has similar restrictions to reputational harm. This clause protects you if you unknowingly use someone else’s work to advertise your company. For example, copyright infringement covers your business if you use a similar slogan or mascot to another company, but only if you prove you were unaware of the preexisting slogan or mascot. If it is identical to a larger business or a direct rival, copyright infringement does not apply. Professional liability insurance can help!
What GLI Does Not Cover
While some GLI clauses offer situational coverage, there are some instances where it does not apply. This is normally because other insurance exists for these exceptions. Property or bodily damage does not apply to commercial auto accidents. For these instances, you need either hired and non-owned coverage or commercial auto insurance.
It also does not apply to situations where employees were injured based on their work. GLI is specifically for accidents, while worker compensation insurance covers general workplace injuries. This applies to non-accidental property damage as well, which is normally covered by commercial property insurance. Business liability insurance is very important!
GLI is also not applicable if your business makes a mistake with your products or services, or if your business does something that breaks the law. While these are considered liability issues, they are covered by professional liability insurance. However, professional liability insurance is sometimes bundled with GLI.
State Farm is one of the top GLI providers of 2021 because of the large network of agents, available throughout the nation. It also offers a wide range of plans, with packages specifically built for both small and large businesses. State Farm offers many other types of insurance as well, providing discounted rates if you purchase additional coverage. They are also popular among businesses because State Farm branches are independently owned, so you are always negotiating with fellow business owners who understand your needs.
Nationwide is another of the biggest GLI providers, though as of writing coverage is not available in Alaska or Hawaii. It is popular for offering a wider variety of coverage under the basic plans. In addition to insurance coverage, Nationwide also has investment services. Nationwide also has some additional plans, including commercial auto, business property and equipment breakdown coverage.
Travelers is a popular GLI provider because of how much customization it offers. It was also one of the first GLI providers to offer extensive coverage for technology-based businesses, making it especially popular in Silicon Valley. It also offers some of the most flexible plans, allowing you to customize your coverage to suit the exact needs of your business.