At times, a business can experience major financial losses because of unplanned circumstances or contingent events. These losses can include damage to property, unfortunate workplace accidents, injuries to employees, among other liabilities. This can put a massive dent on the finances of the business. However, with general liability insurance coverage, you can mitigate almost most of these damages.

Not only will the insurance cover most of your expenses, but also ensure that your cash flow or savings remain intact. Read on to know more about general liability insurance coverage and its comprehensive coverage.   

General liability insurance

General liability insurance, as the name suggests, protects your business against the most prevalent risks. Now, there are a myriad of commercial liability policies in the market; however, the general liability insurance is the initial foundation for all these policies and primary coverage. However, you need to understand that not every general liability insurance policy provides similar coverage. To get a general liability insurance policy that suits your needs, here is a list of questions you need to ask yourself.

What is general liability insurance and what does it cover? 

General liability insurance also called business liability insurance or commercial general liability (CGL) is an insurance policy that offers you coverage from property damage, bodily damage, damage caused by libel and slander, or any liability that arises because of misleading or unintentional false advertisements. Furthermore, it also helps the business pay for any related expenses arising from claims such as medical expenses, settlement fees, and legal defense costs.

The primary objective of general liability insurance is to protect the financial assets and the interests of the company from any 3rd-party claims, that is, any financial loss experienced by others for which your business is accountable.


The coverage that you get from general liability insurance primarily depends on the scope of your policy. However, in most cases, general liability insurance covers the below-listed events and circumstances.


  • Property damage

For instance, your landlord sued you on the pretext that you caused a fire in his building. Now, this fire started in your office, but a section of the landlord’s building also caught on fire that resulted in severe damage to his property. This is an example of a business causing property damage, and a general liability insurance policy will protect you against this.


  • Bodily damage

At times, there are incidents of falls and slips, which occur on your business premises and cause serious injuries or damage to an individual. However, if the individual makes a claim, a general liability insurance policy covers it.

  • Reputation damage 

Reputation damage refers to the statements made by your business, which might disrupt the reputation of a business entity or an individual. A prime example of this is posting derogatory comments on the internet. 

  • Copyright infringement

General liability insurance will act as a shield against copyright infringement suits and offer adequate coverage to the business against lawsuits. 

Why does your business need general liability insurance? 

Every business, irrespective of its size, is never risk-proof. However, unlike big organizations, small businesses rarely have a surplus cash reserve to cater to any large contingent expense. A single legal claim could cause humongous trouble for your business.


For instance, somebody meets with an accident on your business premises, and they hold you responsible for any physical injuries. Now, this claim can account for a lot of money, and you may have to dip into your savings to pay for the damages. In addition to your legal expenses, you will also have to bear the medical expenses of the injured individual. Moreover, if the individual is rendered incapable of working, you might even have to compensate for this loss of income. In such instances, if you do not have a general liability insurance cover, your finances will take a huge hit.


Business liability insurance particularly safeguards your business from all forms of accidents, incidents, and liabilities. Though having general liability insurance is not mandated by the law, landlords often make having one mandatory. It helps you to pay for claims and meet contingencies associated with work contracts. If nothing else, general liability insurance is a wise business investment that protects your business against any foreseeable damages and liabilities. It not only safeguards you and your finances, but also financially helps you fight fraudulent claims and complaints.

What is the amount of coverage needed to protect your business? 

One of the most pivotal considerations, whenever you take an insurance policy, is the sum of liability cover. Having a general liability insurance policy is important for your business; however, do not rush and buy one that does not suit the requirements of your business. It is equally crucial to determine the amount of coverage your business needs. This mostly depends on the business’ degree of risk exposure.  

The limit of insurance coverage would depend on the type of business, location of the business, industry the business is in, and the kind of risks that the business is prone to on a daily basis. For instance, insurance coverage for a consulting business, which handles all its processes from home, would largely differ from a manufacturing business.


Usually, popular business liability insurance for small businesses starts with a coverage of $1,000,000 and goes up to an aggregate amount of $2,000,000. This implies that when your policy is active, the agent will pay you every claim amount of up to one million dollars. However, two million dollars is the total coverage limit of the policy through its active term, which is mostly a year.


Bear in mind that the amount of coverage is an integral business decision because once you reach the coverage limit, any liabilities thereafter will have to be borne by the business. Unfortunately, this can even account for individual liability of the owner of the business if the business is unable to pay.  

What would general liability insurance cost?

The premium cost that you bear for general liability insurance depends on multiple factors associated with the risks the insurance covers. An insurance company will examine the risks that your business is exposed to usually and based on this assessment, they’ll suggest general liability insurance that you can choose for your business. The prime factors that usually determine the premium of a general liability insurance policy are listed below. However, do note that this is not an exhaustive list and there are other factors as well that an insurance agent can tell you better.


  • Business Type

There are a few businesses, which are more vulnerable to risks than others. This exposes them to a couple of legal claims, liabilities, and issues. Since such businesses face increased risk, they require a high sum assured, and are liable to pay a higher premium. For instance, transport companies that have their vehicles on the road have a high probability of their drivers getting involved in accidents. This mishap can lead to property damage or even physical injuries. On the other hand, for an accounting firm or an IT company, the cost of the premium will certainly be lower as it is not prone to such grave risks.


  • Business Size

The size of the business also has a direct impact on the cost of premiums. This means that the bigger the business, the more it is likely to be involved in legal battles. Now, if you are a contractor who has workers working on different job sites, then you are exposed to risks arising from the likelihood of your worker’s negligence. Similarly, for businesses that require transport, the higher the number of vehicles on the road, the higher is the risk of accidents. Hence, if your company is larger, you need to emphasize on ensuring that adequate safety procedures are implemented to curtail risks as much as possible.


  • Past claims

Insurance companies might choose not to insure a business. In some cases, insurance companies even cancel the businesses’ existing general liability insurance policy as a consequence of their previous liability claims. 

For instance, if the company’s advertising campaign makes a statement that was either misleading or fraudulent. If this resulted in a legal suit, then it might be difficult for the company to either acquire new general liability policy coverage or avail of any additional coverage as well.


  • Location of business

At times, even the location of a business has a direct impact on the cost of premiums. This is because the location of the business aggravates the business’ risk. For instance, if the state where the business is in operation has a history of businesses being charged with lawsuits, then the business may have to bear an expensive premium for a business liability insurance policy. Moreover, there are a few states that require businesses to bear massive liabilities in case of bodily injury or personal damage legal suits. This puts businesses at greater risk, requiring higher coverage, and therefore, the premiums of general liability insurance will naturally be high. Hence, it is important to thoroughly examine the risks associated with a location before you settle your business there or if you are planning on relocating your business.

  • Structure of the business

Now, being a small business doesn’t equate to being immune to potential legal suits. Following a study by the Financial Web, it was concluded that private companies are more susceptible to lawsuits as opposed to public companies. The key reason for this being that there’s a general assumption that business owners of private companies are fairly wealthier. 

Hence, you should take adequate time and discuss with your insurance company the specifics of your business’ risk. This will help you get adequate general liability insurance coverage for your business at an affordable premium.  

How to reduce the risk?

Though general liability insurance will safeguard you from contingent expenses arising because of liability, as a responsible business owner, you still need to take measures to curtail or lower risks. As discussed, the history of claims does have a direct implication on premiums. So, when you take practical measures to reduce the risks your business is prone to, you can opt for a general liability insurance policy with a lower premium.  

The most prominent rule to lower your liability risk is adhering to legal guidelines, safety regulations, taking into consideration the safety of your competitors, clients, employees, as well as the general public. Here is a list of some tips to help you reduce your liability risks.  

  • Maintain requisite lightning
  • Keep the environment for people living nearby safe 
  • Ensure that exit gates are properly marked 
  • Clear out all the clutter or obstacles on the way to the exit
  • Keep walkways and floor dry and in proper condition
  • Do not try to defame anyone
  • Never leave libelous comments for an individual or a company over the internet
  • If there are any prevailing risks around a construction area, put up a warning sign
  • Adequately verify and test your products
  • Put up sufficient product information on the packaging or your website
  • Never defame anyone
  • If you put a warning sign, it should be visible and clear from a distance

Which businesses should opt for Business Liability Insurance?

If your business belongs to any industry that is listed below, then you should consider getting general liability insurance for your business:

  • Engineering and architecture
  • Contractors
  • IT-based companies
  • Construction companies
  • Consultants
  • Freelancers
  • Creative agencies
  • Professional service providers, such as therapists, doctors, accountants, or lawyers.