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general liability insurance

To lessen the risk of losing money and business assets, holding general liability insurance is a must for your company. There are many risks you take as a business owner including damage to property and people due to unforeseen accidents, lawsuits that result from such accidents and mistakes made by yourself or by employees.

One of the biggest risks as a business owner is the threat of a lawsuit. Legal fees can be overwhelming and may be something you have to face while running your company. Your liability insurance will protect you from many of the most common types of lawsuits. The general areas of protection you can expect in your policy include medical payments, bodily injury, property damage, and personal injury.

Bodily Injury Coverage

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The threat of bodily injury in your business is one very important reason to hold commercial liability insurance. It will cover the costs associated with an injury to a person when your business is at fault. This could include a slip and fall accident in your shop, a bad reaction to a product you sell, or even mental suffering caused by your company. For any harm that is caused by someone associated with your business or any object or place under the control of your company, you are liable for resulting medical and legal expenses.

Property Damage Coverage

Liability insurance will also give you protection from financial and legal expenses when your business is at fault regarding damage to someone's property. If you provide services in the client's home, for example, anything that you or your employees damage while there would fall under this category. It also includes coverage for damage done to property that occurs on your business premises.

Products and Completed Operations Coverage

As a business owner, you either provide your clients with services or products, or possibly both. Because of this, you are always at risk of legal action against your company. Clients can sue you when they are dissatisfied with the service or the product or if either causes them harm or damages their property. With products and completed operations coverage in your general liability insurance policy, you are protected if such a lawsuit is brought against your business.

If you sell products, you are liable for any defects in their design. A shampoo sold at a salon, for instance, that contains an ingredient that causes a rash on the scalp can cause harm to your customers. You are liable for that defect and can be sued as a result. You also face liability if a product you sell is manufactured improperly or if the instruction or warning labels on a product are incorrect and customers are harmed because of it. Because of all the possible harm that can occur in the process of designing, making, and selling products, you must carry liability insurance.

Another aspect of your commercial liability insurance coverage is the completion of operations, or services in other words. Products are not the only source of liability. If you provide a service to a customer that causes bodily harm or property damage, you can be sued. Your policy will help you pay the associated medical expenses and legal fees.

Personal and Advertising Injury Coverage

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Damage to property and bodily injuries are not the only source of legal woes and expenses that you may face as a business owner. Personal and advertising injuries do not include direct harm to property or person, but it is still an important part of your general liability insurance policy. Like property damage and bodily injury, this coverage protects you from expenses that arise from legal claims and lawsuits. Suits covered by personal and advertising injury include slander, libel, discrimination, and other similar claims. For example, a customer could accuse you of invading their privacy or slandering their character. If you are a landlord, a tenant may claim wrongful eviction.

Advertisement injuries are specific to claims that arise as a direct result of your business's advertising. A third party can, for instance, claim that you have slandered or libeled them in a print, radio, internet, or television advertisement for your company. You may also be accused of infringing on an individual's or another company's copyright or trademark. To help you cover the legal costs incurred from lawyer fees, court fees, and awarded damages in either advertising or personal injury cases, it is important to hold this type of coverage as part of your commercial liability insurance. You should be aware, however, that you will not be covered for instances in which you or your business knowingly infringed on a copyright or used false information to slander or libel a third party.

Medical Payments Coverage

Another important part of your liability insurance is the medical payments portion. Medical and legal bills associated with injuries and illnesses and their resulting lawsuits can quickly skyrocket out of control. Having coverage for medical payments can give you a great sense of relief when an accident happens. Medical payments coverage helps you in the event of a minor injury for which your business is liable. It can cover the medical bills that result from these injuries to avoid a lawsuit which would be even more expensive. Any accident that causes minor harm and occurs at your place of business or at a secondary location at which you are conducting business is covered under this portion of your liability insurance. It may pay for follow expenses to the injured party for up to three years after the incident.

Business Premises Protection Coverage

With a general liability insurance protection policy in place for your business, you can rest easy knowing that all of the basics are covered. If a client stumbles over boxes while on the premise of your company and must go to the hospital to treat the fall injuries, general liability insurance covers the cost of the ambulance and hospital bills.

Accidental injuries and property damage can happen outside of your office or retail location as well. If customers are injured due to activities your company has in progress at an offsite location, general liability insurance will cover the expenses involved with those accidents as well.

Product Liability Coverage

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General liability insurance is critical for all businesses that work with products. Whether you simply handle the products or you actually sell or manufacture them, general liability coverage helps protect you when something goes awry with those products.

For example, a beauty salon may find that their customers have an allergic reaction to new shampoo products, or an auto repair shop may find that a specific type of engine fan that they have been selling and installing is defective. In either of these cases, general liability insurance helps protect your company from lawsuits and class action cases that may arise due to your customer being harmed -- as in the case of the allergic reaction  or your customer's property being harmed  and even in the case of the auto repair shop's defective fan.

Completed Operations Coverage

When you complete agreed upon work for a customer or client, there is the potential that you can be held liable for the injury or damage to your customer or their property due to your product or service.

For example, if an assistant or intern in a veterinarian's office gives a customer's dog a flu shot, and that animal has a severe allergic reaction to the medicine that causes harm to the animal, general liability coverage can help protect your office and business from the associated expenses and potential legal fees. Your assistant or intern provided services to your customer and upon completion of providing the services; it caused harm to the customer's pet.

Completed operations coverage is part of general liability insurance, and it is designed to help protect you and your business assets in the event that work you completed somehow brings harm to your customer, or damages the customer's property.

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