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General Liability Insurance

General liability insurance, also known as business liability, can help cover claims, damages and attorney fees that result from harm caused by a business’s products, services or operations. This could include bodily injury, property damage or personal injury to customers, vendors, partners or other third parties who may come into contact with your business.

A general liability policy is considered to cover some of the most common lawsuits that arise from everyday business activities.

While not legally required, it is widely recommended as a basic insurance product for businesses to have. Without general liability, a small business would have to pay the cost of lawsuits or settlements from its own business and and/or personal assets. (Personal assets are only at risk if the insured is a sole proprietor.)

Proof of coverage also may be contractually required by vendors or business partners, to ensure the other party is prepared with the proper insurance should the unexpected occur.

Recommended Read: General Liability vs. Workers’ Compensation: What’s the Difference?

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What Does General Liability Cover?

A general liability policy protects the insured company and its assets from a lawsuit resulting from third-party bodily injury, property damage or personal and advertising injury (such as libel or slander), caused by the direct or indirect actions of the insured.

Let’s take a closer look at specific situations where general liability is valuable to have.

What’s Covered

  • Bodily Injury: A customer slips and falls in your restaurant or trips in your store, and breaks his ankle.
  • Property Damage: Your employee spills a bucket of paint in the customer’s office, and the carpet needs to be replaced.
  • Personal and Advertising Injury: A competitor claims your employee’s negative comments about them have hurt business, and files a defamation lawsuit.

What’s Not Covered

General liability insurance typically does not cover:

  • Commercial auto accidents.
  • Damage to your business property.
  • Employee discrimination lawsuits.
  • Employee injuries.
  • Intentional acts.
  • Professional mistakes or faulty workmanship.
  • Punitive damages.

Other commercial insurance products, such as commercial auto, commercial property, professional liability and workers' compensation could be purchased to cover these scenarios. 

Business Owners Policy (BOP)

A Business Owners Policy (BOP) combines several commercial policies into one product for the convenience of the business owner. It typically combines general liability and commercial property insurance, but can include other combinations of coverage.

Workers’ Compensation Policy

General liability insurance covers legal costs for third parties (people or property) that are damaged by your business. To protect against employee injuries on the job, you may need workers’ compensation insurance.

Workers’ compensation is regulated at the state level, but mandatory for most employers in most states. Small businesses with employees, whether full-time or part-time, are often legally required to carry an active workers’ compensation policy.

Workers’ compensation and general liability are often confused, so make sure you choose the right policies for your business.


General Liability Workers' Compensation
Covers injuries to a third party or damage to their property Covers injuries to employees
Protects third parties Protects employees
Covers legal fees in suits brought by a third-party Covers legal fees in suits brought by an injured employee
Not legally required, but often contractually required Legally required 
Not regulated  Regulated at the state level 

What Insurance Policies Does My Small Business Need?

With few exceptions, all businesses should carry general liability and workers’ compensation policies to protect their employees and their assets. Both policies are similar in that price is determined by such things as the coverage limits you choose, number of employees, total payroll and nature of the work.

General liability insurance gives you the added peace of mind in the event of an alleged claim or lawsuit. WorkCompOne is licensed in every state, and has a network of trusted insurance carriers to get you the best price.

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