Running a small business is hard work. From the big details to the small ones, there is a lot that goes into it. One of those big details that you need to sort out, understand, and implement is commercial general liability insurance. A lot of small business owners feel that, since they’re smaller than traditional companies, they don’t require general liability insurance. This is a mistake that can cost them public integrity and a lot of money. To help make sure that everyone has the education needed to keep that from happening, it’s time to dive into the world of general liability insurance and what it means specifically for small businesses.
What is general liability business insurance?
This question seems like a pretty good place to start. What, exactly, is general liability insurance? This is a specific kind of policy that is able to protect your business from financial loss that can come from property damage or injury as a result of advertising, your services, business doings, or your employees.
As you can imagine, this broad definition means that businesses must have a plan that is focused to what their needs are. This will vary depending on industry, the interaction with the public, how many employees that you have and more. This, however, helps explain just why learning about it (and investing in it) is so critical to a business’ success.
What does it cover?
There are a lot of potential aspects that general liability insurance covers, more of reason to make sure that you are getting the right kind of coverage for your needs. However, generally speaking, general liability policies can cover:
- Legal defence if a lawsuit is filed for damages or injury or someone who is at your business or is injured by one of your employees. Depending on your business, you can get additional endorsements to this for things such as workers compensation or a liquor liability.
- Copyright infringement, slander and wrongful eviction from a rented property are also covered with this kind of insurance policies. This can be especially useful if you are working in advertising or in another kind of business where copyright is often an issue.
- Medical coverage is often covered for injuries/accidents that occur on your registered property. Even if this is from a customer and not an employee. This does not require a lawsuit to become active, however, it often can be put into play when the incident occurs. This can cover medical, surgical, professional nursing or funeral expenses of the person who is injured or killed.
It’s important to note, however, that you must keep your policy active to have these kinds of coverage. General liability insurance for small business is similar to car insurance or health insurance on the personal side. That is, the plan is only going to be valid for the length of time in which you keep the policy itself active, up to date, and paid.
Who needs this kind of insurance?
If you have a small business and you’re wondering if you need this kind of insurance, odds are in your favour that it’s probably a good idea. Specifically speaking, however, general liability insurance is required if you are interacting with customers or clients face to face. This includes both at your own location, or at theirs.
If your business requires you to access the equipment or professional belongings of the customer or client, this kind of insurance is recommended to protect you against claims of damage, etc. Lastly, you should have this kind of insurance if you are going to be using any kind of third-party locations. This is, again, to protect you on all sides.
- Keeps your business protected in a targeted way: Since these kinds of policies are tapered and focused on what your business’ needs are, you don’t need to worry about paying for something that you don’t need, like a lot of blanket coverage options. This is as professional as your business and will give you protection from what you need, and omit you from paying for what you don’t need.
- Gives you peace of mind: Knowing that you are covered, professionally speaking, and that you have got everything in order can help make you breathe a little easier. Since insurance is one of those things that often gets a bad reputation for being over-the-top, remembering that your business is covered in a way that matters to you and your associates (and customers) can be a huge help in offering you peace of mind, even if you don’t need to use it.
- Helps make rentals easier: If you are renting a space or working with a particularly prestigious client, you may find that they require you to have general liability insurance for your small business. Maybe these requirements are specific, and maybe they’re not. The point is, having the proper policy in place makes customers and rental offices see that you are prepared, professional, and protected. This makes you a trustworthy source when the time comes to sign on the dotted line.
Whether small business general liability insurance is something that you thought you needed before now or not, this should help you to see just how useful it can be. Both in small and big ways, it can be one of the key differences to how much your company succeeds, and in what tier of business.
When in doubt on how this works for you and small business needs, talk to a professional about whether your small business needs insurance and remember all of the great things that it can offer you and your business both short- and long-term. Insurance is one of those things where you only need to require having it once for you to see its worth. Specialized for you, multi-faceted and focused on saving you from a lot of professional headaches, general liability insurance may be the right fit for you and your business.