In today’s litigious society, even small mishaps can result in large lawsuits. That’s why Commercial General Liability Insurance, along with property and worker’s compensation insurance, is essential for most companies. General liability insurance protects the assets of a business when it is sued for something it did (or didn’t do) to cause an injury or property damage.
Under a Commercial General Liability Insurance Policy, the insurer is obligated to pay the legal costs of a business in a covered liability claim or lawsuit. Covered liability claims include bodily injury, property damage, personal injury, and advertising injury (damage from slander or false advertising). The insurance company also covers compensatory and general damages. Punitive damages aren’t covered under general liability insurance policies because they’re considered to be punishment for intentional acts.
Commercial General Liability insurance policies always state a maximum amount that the insurer will pay during the policy period. Usually these policies also list the maximum amount the insurer will pay per occurrence. For example, if a company has a $1 million occurrence cap in its liability policy and it’s successfully sued for $1.5 million, the insurer would pay $1 million and the business would be responsible for paying $500,000.
To cover these types of situations, many companies purchase an excess or umbrella liability insurance, which picks up where their Commercial General Liability Insurance coverage ends. Umbrella liability covers payments that exceed their other policy’s limits, and provides additional coverage for liabilities not covered in a standard liability insurance policy.
Policy premiums are typically based on estimated annual gross receipts and the nature of your business. A number of insurance carriers are available to provide General Liability.
The General Aggregate Limit is the most money the insurer will pay under a certain coverage for all claims occurring during the policy term.
Coverage is provided for damages arising out of ownership or occupancy of the insured premises when not maintained in a reasonable manner. This also covers damages arising out of operations performed by the insured business.
Products coverage is provided for damages arising out of products manufactured, sold, handled or distributed by the insured. Completed Operations covers damages occurring after operations have been completed or abandoned, or after an item is installed or built and released for it’s intended purpose.
Medical Expense Limit
Medical payments coverage pays medical expenses resulting from bodily injury caused by an accident on premises owned or rented by the insured, or locations next to such property, or when caused by the insured’s operations. These payments are made without regard to the liability of the insured.
Fire Damage Limit
The fire damage limit provides coverage for fire damage caused by negligence on the part of the insured to premises rented to the named insured. If a fire occurs because of negligence of the insured and causes damage to property not rented to the insured, coverage would be provided under the occurrence limit.
Personal Injury means injury other than bodily injury. Coverage is provided for injury resulting from offenses such as false arrest, malicious prosecution, detention or imprisonment, the wrongful entry into, wrongful eviction from and other acts of invasion, or rights of private occupancy of a room. Coverage for libel and slander is also provided in the policy.
This coverage pays for damages done in the course of oral or written advertisement that disparages, libels or slanders a person’s or organization’s goods, products or services. Coverage for these offenses is provided under advertising injury coverage only if they occur during the course of advertising the named insured’s own goods, products or services.
Each occurrence is considered to be an accident, which could include continuous or repeated exposure to the same harmful conditions. An occurrence can also be a sudden event, or a result of a long term series of events.