Owning and operating a business can come with unforeseen expenses, such as liability claims. Many businesses are unprepared to cover these costs, even though liability claims are unfortunately quite common and usually result from normal business operations. Having liability insurance coverage can keep your business from having to pay these costs out of pocket. Read on to find out what types of claims liability insurance can protect you from.
What Does Liability Insurance Actually Cover?
Sensible risk management strategies are a must for business owners, as it’s essential to keep your business protected from unnecessary expenses. Though there are many perils associated with business ownership, the number one way to keep your business protected is to ensure your business is properly insured. When you’re unexpectedly hit with a liability claim, insurance can be the difference between your business coming out on top or facing financial ruin.
Liability coverage is an excellent ally in keeping your business protected because its coverage extends to multiple facets of running a business. Claims related to injuries on your premises, damage to your client’s property, or even allegations of copyright infringement and false advertising are all covered under this type of insurance – and these are just a few examples! Liability is the type of insurance you need in your corner for mitigating all the risks of business ownership.
What Types of Claims are Covered by This Policy?
There are many situations in which your business could be held responsible and expected to pay for. Proper insurance coverage prevents you from paying these various costs out-of-pocket. This type of insurance includes coverage for expenses, such as legal and medical expenses, as well as compensatory and punitive damages related to the following types of claims:
Bodily injury coverage provides protection against losses for bodily injury to others (including clients, customers, or employees) that may have been caused by your operations. Whether you’re found liable for bodily injury due to non-professional negligent acts or due to your premises or business operations, this type of insurance can cover medical expenses and legal expenses associated with this type of claim.
Bodily injury includes physical and/or mental injuries to a client, customer, or employee that may have been caused by your operations, including emotional distress. Common bodily injury lawsuits include customer slip and falls (ex: a customer slips on loose or wet flooring while visiting your business and is injured), and other tortious acts that may cause a claimant to suffer loss or harm, such as intentional infliction of emotional distress, and negligence.
Property damage coverage, like bodily injury coverage, provides protection against losses from the legal liability of your business for property damage occurring due either to non-professional negligent acts or arising out of the premises or business operations. In the event that your business causes property damage, including employee accidents, this insurance will cover the costs of the damage.
For example, if your employee accidentally breaks a client’s windows while working at their home, the cost of the damages will be covered by your insurance. Another example would be if your employee leaves the water running at a client’s home and causes substantial damage; without insurance, your company would be expected to pay for the costs of this damage. However, having insurance means your employee’s mistakes won’t cost you any extra coin.
Product liability is essential coverage for manufacturers and any businesses that sell goods. While we know customer safety is always a priority, sometimes bodily injury or property damage can occur due to an unfortunate product malfunction. Product liability will cover the costs of any claims related to bodily injury or property damage caused by a product you sell or manufacture.
Tenant liability protects your business from damage to property that you lease or occupy for business purposes. This protects you against the day-to-day risks of running a business within a rented space, including lawsuits and payments of claims related to third-party bodily injury or property damage. It’s common for landlords to require proof of insurance before renting out a space, so having proper coverage is an asset when looking for a new home for your business.
Personal Injury, Advertising Injury, and Reputational Harm
Liability coverage keeps you protected in the event of personal and/or advertising injury claims made against your business. You’d be surprised how easy it is to find yourself facing an advertising injury claim; saying something untoward about a competitor to the wrong audience, for example, could result in being hit with a defamation lawsuit. Similarly, making grandiose claims in an ad campaign could see you facing a class-action lawsuit for allegations of false advertising.
Personal and advertising injury liability protects your business against a range of offenses, such as:
- False advertising
- False arrest
- Malicious prosecution
- Wrongful eviction
- Wrongful entry
- Invasion of privacy
In addition to advertising injury claims, this type of insurance protects you from lawsuits alleging the unlawful use of another’s advertising idea or copyright. Copyright infringement occurs when someone else’s work is used on your product or in your business’ ads without the express permission of the copyright holder. If your business is found infringing on another’s copyright, your liability coverage will cover the cost of damages and legal fees.
Other Costs Covered by a General Liability Policy
In addition to these specific types of claims, a general liability policy will help to cover the administrative costs associated with handling all the covered claims described above. The amount of coverage for these costs will vary, as they depend on the limits of your specific policy. Additionally, this type of policy will cover smaller medical claims that do not require litigation and a variety of costs related to legal defense and the process of litigation.
A general liability policy offers limited coverage for medical payments, including payments for injuries sustained by clients or customers that were caused by an accident taking place on the premises of your business or when exposed to your business operations. Medical payments coverage does not require legal action to be accessed, meaning your business is able to settle smaller medical claims promptly and without litigation.
This type of policy will cover all necessary and reasonable medical expenses accrued by a person injured or killed in an accident that takes place on your business premises or arises from your business operations. This includes surgical costs, ambulance fees, hospital fees, professional nursing expenses, and funeral expenses. Since medical payment coverage is provided on a no-fault basis, there is no defense or legal liability coverage.
Legal Defense Costs
Liability insurance will cover all legal fees, including court costs, legal defense, judgments, and settlements for the above types of claims. On your behalf, your insurance will pay all damages if you are found liable (up to the coverage limits of your policy). Your policy will also cover the costs associated with administrative work and legal secretaries.
While this type of insurance covers a wide range of expenses, there are certain additional policies you’ll need to purchase to ensure your business has complete coverage. Workers compensation, employment practices liability, liquor liability, pollution liability, and professional liability may be beneficial complementary policies for you. Talking to an experienced insurance professional can help you to determine which endorsements are right for your business.
What Type of Businesses Need General Liability Coverage?
No matter the size of your business, or your industry, you can benefit from general liability coverage. This type of insurance is especially beneficial for businesses with locations that are accessible to the general public, as well as businesses that:
- Work directly with customers and/or clients
- Manage client-owned property and/or assets
- Rent or own commercial space
Independent contractors and entrepreneurs can also benefit from this type of insurance, as they can also be held liable for the same injuries and damages that general liability policies cover. Liability claims can be extra difficult for independent contractors and entrepreneurs because they’re solely responsible for their finances. Choosing not to properly insure a sole proprietorship can, unfortunately, lead to significant financial hardship and even bankruptcy.
What You Risk When You Remain Uninsured
If someone files a claim against your business, the cost of legal defense and court fees can add up quickly. With the additional costs of administrative work, legal secretaries, and any associated costs from judgments or settlements, your business can be stuck footing an extremely expensive bill. We’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars! A general liability insurance policy is essential for helping your business cover these costs.
General liability insurance is the most important insurance coverage for your business to have. A lawsuit can have an immense negative impact on a business; without proper insurance, facing a claim of any kind can place a tremendous financial strain on your company’s bottom line. Because liability suits happen so frequently, you need a good insurance plan in your corner. Visit ISU Armac today to pair your business with the best agency for all your insurance needs.