Is General Liability Insurance Required for Small Businesses?
Whether you are a small or growing business, you are obligated to carry several essential types of commercial insurance. Your coverage will help you be able to afford the recovery costs associated with unexpected losses that might impact both your own operations and those who interact with you.
In many cases, you will be required to carry certain insurance benefits, such as workers’ compensation insurance, by law. However, other benefits that might technically be optional are no less important for your business’s long-term security. One of these benefits is general liability insurance. Though only required for certain businesses, this is a critical type of benefit that every operation should have.
Let’s take a closer look at how this coverage will be a core component of your overall insurance and risk management strategy.
The Basics of General Liability Insurance
A general liability policy is often referred to as at-fault insurance. It helps an insured business take responsibility for its actions when it negligently causes harm to others, such as its customers. For example, if a customer falls in your store, sustains an injury and sues you as a result, then you can use this coverage to compensate the customer.
Even though you might not have intended for such an accident to happen, that doesn’t mean you won’t be responsible for it. Therefore, liability insurance enables you to respond to these challenges without spending incalculable reserve funds.
General liability insurance can often include several types of coverage:
Bodily injury coverage applies to third-party injuries sustained through your mistakes.
Property damage liability insurance covers losses caused to third-party property.
Personal injury coverage pays for damage caused by acts like libel, slander, copyright infringement and similar less physical, but still harmful mistakes.
Additionally, your policy will generally extend to products and completed-operations liabilities caused by problems in your products or services.
When is Coverage Required?
There are very few instances where a commercial general liability insurance policy might be required of a business:
Any business or individual that wants to apply for a professional license usually must have general liability insurance for their practice. Professional licenses are generally required for real estate agents, medical practices, lawyers, therapists and more.
Some small businesses are required to purchase this coverage if they locate from a physical location. Landlords and mortgage lenders require clients to purchase general liability insurance.
If the company wants to enter a contract with a larger company, the larger company will likely ask the business to purchase general liability insurance beforehand.
General liability insurance is relatively cheap for small businesses. The average cost of coverage is $500 per year for a small business. This cost depends on the business’ location, industry and policy limits. You may also save money by bundling this insurance with commercial property insurance into a business owners policy (BOP), which combines a variety of insurance policies into one comprehensive package for small businesses.