General and Professional Liability insurance: When do I need both?

Explore our general and professional liability insurance examples and learn why you may need both.

Marcel Deer - Writer for NEXT Insurance
By Marcel Deer
Michelle Meyer - Editor for NEXT Insurance
Reviewed by Michelle Meyer
Matt Crawford for NEXT Insurance
Fact-check by Matt Crawford

Updated June 2, 2023.

The main difference between general and professional liability insurance is that they can protect you from different risks.

  • General liability insurance can cover you for common risks like damaging a client's property, paying the medical expenses of someone that got hurt at your business or getting sued for using an improper picture on an advertising poster.
  • Professional liability insurance can help to protect you from business errors like making a professional mistake that costs your client money or giving your client incorrect information. This coverage can also help to cover legal fees if a client sues you.

Many small businesses choose to get both types of insurance because then they're covered for a wider range of risks. Let's look at some examples that can benefit from both types.

» Are you self-employed? Find out why you need general liability insurance

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Architects & engineers

While you're working on a project, you spend a lot of time on a property that isn't yours.

  • General liability insurance can help to safeguard your business if you're blamed for damaging something on the property (e.g., a piece of machinery) or for someone getting hurt (e.g., tripping over tools left around and breaking an arm).
  • Professional liability insurance can protect you if your client sues over poor work quality or claims you were negligent, especially if your client loses money because of this.

» Learn more about NEXT's architect and engineer insurance

Accountants & financial advisors

Despite not working in a high-risk field for physical damage, third-party accidents can still happen on your premises.

  • General liability insurance can help pay for medical bills if a client slips and falls in your office. It can also help cover the costs of repairing or replacing your client's laptop if it gets damaged at your office and it's your fault.
  • Professional liability insurance can protect you against expenses related to lawsuits filed by disgruntled clients who suffered financial losses because of your advice — even if you are not at fault.

» Learn more about NEXT's financial services insurance

Protect yourself and your business with NEXT

As you can see from the examples, each insurance covers different scenarios and can give you more protection — and more peace of mind.

Get a hassle-free, customized insurance quote based on your profession and your business needs in less than 10 minutes online.

NEXT: Tailored Small Business Insurance

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» Explore further why businesses need more than one business insurance policy