Someone trips over your tools and breaks their leg.
Yikes! You drop equipment and damage a client’s hardwood floor.
You’re sued for improper image use in your advertising.
You need an attorney for a lawsuit, even though you did nothing wrong.
Someone gets injured on site and asks you to pay for medical expenses.
An employee bad-mouths a client online and the client sues you.
Your general liability policy provides financial protection if you are held responsible for some of the most common accidents that can occur at a business, such as a customer injury or damages to someone’s property. It also provides coverage if you are forced to defend an accusation of libel or slander.
General liability insurance, also known as commercial general liability (CGL), covers the risks that affect almost every business, no matter what your industry. It is the most common insurance for small businesses and self-employed professionals, and it’s typically the first policy purchased by new businesses.
General liability is included in most business insurance packages because it covers the risks that many business owners face every day. It is not typically required by law, but some clients and agencies could ask you to have a certificate of insurance before they work with you.
Here are some examples of businesses owners who might need general liability coverage:
You’ll get help paying for expenses after an accident if you’re held responsible for injuring someone or damaging their property. Commercial general liability can also help cover defense costs if you are accused of libel or slander.
Here are more details on what makes general liability insurance so important:
Business liability insurance shows that your business is reliable and trustworthy. It gives clients peace of mind knowing that you will take responsibility for your mistakes.
It could give you a competitive advantage if your potential client has a choice between your business and another business that doesn’t have insurance. Many larger clients also require coverage before they’ll sign a contract with you.
Some states and cities will only give you a business permit if you have active general liability insurance and a certificate of insurance. If your business is certified or accredited by a professional organization, you might also be required to keep your general liability insurance active.
If you plan to lease commercial space, your property owner may ask to see your certificate of liability insurance. General liability coverage is often required because it shows you will have the financial protection needed to cover expenses related to property damage or injuries related to your business at the leased space.
General liability insurance can give you peace of mind. You won’t have to worry about what you would do if a client trips and falls or how you would pay for a new vase if you accidentally broke one in a client’s house.
Having business liability insurance means that instead of feeling nervous about what could happen, you can concentrate on growing your business.
General liability insurance can protect you from unexpected expenses related to many of the most common types of accidents that can affect your business and lead to lawsuits, such as:
Learn more about what general liability covers.
General liability insurance costs are different for each business. It can cost as little as $8 monthly for some businesses.
Several factors influence the price you’ll pay for coverage, including your industry, the size of your business and how much coverage you want to purchase.
The amount of risk that you face in your industry is used to determine your insurance costs. If your business is in an industry that is more prone to accidents and injuries, than you will typically pay more for insurance.
For example, a carpenter who takes saws and other tools to different locations is more likely to have an accident that would be covered by general liability than an accountant who mostly works at a desk. That’s why carpenter liability insurance cost is usually higher than the cost of accountant liability insurance.
Cost also depends on your aggregate limit — or the maximum amount that your general liability insurance policy will pay out during your policy period. The higher your coverage limit, the higher your small business liability insurance costs.
If you have a larger deductible, you’ll pay less for general liability insurance for your small business. At NEXT, we don’t charge a deductible for our general liability insurance policies, so you won’t need to worry about it.
With NEXT, you can purchase affordable general liability coverage online and get your certificate of insurance 10 minutes, or less.
Start an instant quote to see options for your small business. Here’s how the process works:
We’ll ask you some basic questions about your business and operations, including:
After you share your information, you’ll have instant access to a customized insurance quote for general liability and other recommended coverage.
If you like what you see, you can adjust the package limits and make your purchase. Your insurance will begin immediately after payment, and you’ll have access to your certificate of insurance.
General liability insurance is often the first type of coverage purchased by new business owners, but it’s not typically required by law. It can help cover expenses if your business is held responsible for hurting someone other than an employee or damaging someone’s property.
Even though it’s not required by law, there are several advantages to have this type of insurance — and several situations where you could be asked to have this coverage:
Clients could ask you to have general liability
Your client could require that you have general liability coverage as part of contract requirements so they know that you can pay for any accidental injuries or damage related to your work.
Having a general liability certificate of insurance also demonstrates that you’re a professional and care about their property.
You might need coverage to get a license or permit
Some permitting and licensing organizations will only grant you a business permit or professional license if you have active general liability insurance. For example, general contractors sometimes need general liability as part of the license requirements in their state.
Coverage could be required for a commercial lease
You might also need general liability insurance as part of a commercial lease agreement. If you rent property for your business, you could be asked by the property owner to carry liability insurance with specific policy limits in case an accident damages the property.
General liability insurance can cover expenses related to property damage, but only to property that does not belong to you.
Commercial property insurance can help protect the physical items you need to operate your business: inventory, business equipment and furniture and physical structures.
A business owner’s policy (BOP insurance) combines general liability insurance and commercial property insurance into one package that is usually less expensive than buying the coverage separately.
Learn more about BOP insurance with NEXT.
Yes, general liability insurance premiums can typically be deducted from your taxes. It’s important to consult with a licensed accounting professional to make sure you qualify.
The IRS categorizes payments you make for this type of insurance to be both an “ordinary and necessary” business expense so be sure to keep a file of how much you pay every year for your policy.
You can file a claim anytime and from anywhere, online or by calling us. You’ll be asked to tell us the details of what happened and to provide relevant photos and documentation. We strive to make claims decisions within 48 hours so you can get back to focusing on your work.
Check out our claims page for more details.
Often, claims decisions are made within 48 hours, although some claims require more time. The specific details of the claim, how bad the damage is, how many people are involved and other factors all contribute to the decision process.
Learn about general liability insurance with more frequently asked questions about our coverage.
If you don’t find the answers you’re looking for, our licensed insurance advisors are standing by to help.
When you’re ready to explore coverage options for your business, you can get an instant quote online and purchase insurance within a few minutes.
We get this question a lot. In fact, we even created a blog post that covers the many nuances of professional liability vs. general liability. Here’s a quick overview:
Professional liability insurance and general liability insurance offer similar benefits but there is one major difference — professional liability insurance covers professional mistakes and accusations of neglect. It’s often related to advice that you provide to a client or customer, not accidents that happen at the workplace.
General liability insurance provides financial protection for accidents that are more physical in nature, such as property damage and injuries involving people who are not your employees. It also covers expenses related to accusations of libel, slander and copyright infringement.
Professional liability covers your finished work but does not cover accidents or damage caused to other people or their property.
General liability aggregate is a common insurance industry term that you’ll run into when you are exploring options for this coverage. Basically, it’s the maximum amount of money an insurance company will pay out during your policy term, which is usually one year.
If your business has too many claims in one year, you might hit your aggregate limit. In that case, you would be responsible to pay out of pocket to cover remaining expenses.
Note that the aggregate limit is different from the “per occurrence” limit, which is the maximum amount your policy pays out per claim within the term of your policy.
For example, if you have a general aggregate liability limit of $300,000 and you’ve already made three claims in your policy term (usually a year) for $100,000 each, you’ve reached your aggregate limit and your insurance company won’t cover any additional claims.
It’s important to know your aggregate limit when you purchase general liability insurance. If you exceed your limit during your policy term, you will be responsible for paying for any expenses out of pocket that exceed the limit.
Learn more about aggregate limits with liability insurance.
If you already have a general liability insurance policy with NEXT, is included to help cover injuries and damages caused by your products.
If you don’t already have a general liability insurance policy, you will need to buy one to get product liability coverage. You cannot buy product liability on its own.
General liability insurance does not cover automobile liability or any expenses related to business or personal driving.
Add commercial auto insurance to your insurance package if you drive for business reasons. It can help cover expenses for:
Learn more about commercial auto coverage.
General liability insurance doesn’t cover the theft of your own possessions but it might cover the theft of your client’s stuff.
If you’re repairing a garage door for a homeowner and someone steals her bike while you’re out back, general liability could help pay for a replacement. But if any of your personal or business items are stolen, you won’t be covered without additional insurance.
You can bundle tools & equipment insurance with your Next Insurance general liability coverage if you are a contractor or own a cleaning business.
If you’re a contractor or own a cleaning business, you can add tools & equipment insurance to protect your belongings if they are damaged or stolen. General liability won’t provide tools and equipment coverage if you don’t add this upgrade to your insurance package.
You might consider adding tools and equipment coverage if you work frequently at different locations because it will provide financial protection for your equipment wherever you go. For example, if there’s a water leak at the new house you’re building and your power tools get soaked, your insurance could help pay for new tools.
Learn more about tools & equipment insurance.
General liability insurance can help pay for expenses if your business is accused of causing an injury, but injuries to you or your employee are not included.
You’ll need workers’ compensation insurance to help pay for medical expenses and lost wages if an employee is hurt on the job. Most states legally require you to purchase coverage as soon as you hire an employee. It also provides benefits for business owners if they get hurt on the job.
Learn more about workers’ compensation insurance.
General liability insurance offers protection for a variety of business-related incidents, but you might also want to consider adding other types of insurance to be fully protected.
Are you a contractor or cleaner? If so, you might want to add tools & equipment coverage to protect your gear if it is damaged or stolen.
Do you have any employees? You should definitely get workers’ compensation insurance, particularly because it’s legally required in most states.
Do you drive a vehicle for work? If so, you’ll need commercial auto insurance.
There is no cut-and-dry answer to this question. Each business is unique and has unique insurance needs.
Factors that will influence the coverage you need, include:
When you complete an instant quote online with Next, you can review options and adjust limits to your preference.
One thing that sets us apart from other insurance companies is our ability to deliver the insurance coverage you need quickly. It can take less than 10 minutes to purchase coverage and you’ll have instant access to policy documents and your certificate of insurance.
When your coverage is active, you can access your documents and COI from your online account 24/7.
Learn more about our digital certificate of insurance.
Business insurance is divided into different policies. We offer seven types so it's easy to design the coverage that fits your business.