About General Liability Insurance
All businesses, regardless of industry, face risks that should be covered by insurance. The most common and comprehensive type of policy business owners invest in is general liability insurance (or CGL).
Some of the risks CGL insurance covers are:
- Bodily injury
- Property damage
- Medical payments
- Legal defense and judgment
- Personal and advertising injury
While businesses aren't legally required to carry general liability insurance, operating without it is extremely risky. If your business is sued, you could end up facing fees totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars (or more). Having a sufficient CGL policy in place to help compensate for these damages is the only way to prevent this type of event from devastating your business.
Learn more about the risks covered by general liability insurance.
COMMON SITUATIONS THAT GENERAL LIABILITY INSURANCE WOULD COVER FOR A CUSTOM PRINTS BUSINESS
Example 1: A customer develops a skin rash after wearing one of your T-shirts. General liability insurance would cover the customer’s medical bills or your legal costs in the event of a lawsuit.
Example 2: You print thousands of business cards for a customer, but they dislike the final product and demand compensation. General liability insurance would cover the cost of replacing the cards or your legal fees to fight the claim in court.
Example 3: When a customer visits your facility, he trips and falls over some broken asphalt in the parking lot. General liability insurance would cover the customer’s medical bills.
Example 4: Several insects find their way into a box you ship to a customer with a custom print order. When the customer opens the box, the insects escape and infest the customer’s home. General liability insurance would cover the associated extermination costs.
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of perils a general liability insurance policy will cover, and some conditions may result in a particular peril not being covered. It's always best to talk to your agent in-depth about the specifics of your policy to avoid blind spots in coverage.
Cost of General Liability Insurance
On average, custom prints businesses in America spend between $400 - $1500 per year for $1 million in general liability coverage.
Check out the chart below for a snapshot of average CGL expenditure across a variety of industries:
Several factors will determine the price of your policy. These include your:
- Number of employees
- Per-occurrence limit
- General aggregate limit
You may be able to acquire general liability insurance at a discounted rate by purchasing it as part of a business owner's policy (BOP) rather than as a standalone policy. A BOP is a more comprehensive solution that includes multiple forms of coverage, such as business interruption and property insurance.
How much will the right insurance cost you?
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Other Types of Coverage custom prints businesses Need
While general liability is the most important type of insurance to have, there are several other forms of coverage you should be aware of. Below are some other types of insurance all custom prints businesses should obtain.
Commercial Property Insurance
If you own the building in which you operate, commercial property insurance helps protect your business-related property from a variety of events, such as theft, vandalism, and extreme weather. It covers the cost of repairing the structure as well as repairing or replacing any equipment and products you store there.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Most states require businesses to carry workers’ compensation insurance for their part-time and full-time employees. This coverage protects your employees if they become injured at work or fall ill after a work-related accident. It not only covers an employee’s medical bills and lost wages if they need time to recover but also any disability or death benefits stemming from a work-related accident.
Product Liability Insurance
Product liability insurance protects your business against claims associated with faulty or defective products. If someone claims one of your custom prints insured them, for example, product liability insurance would cover your legal fees and any awarded damages stemming from a lawsuit.
Business Interruption Insurance
If your company suffers a significant accident, you may need to shut down for a few days, weeks or months. Business interruption insurance can help cover some of your lost revenue while you make repairs, ensuring your company doesn’t fail before you reopen.
Data Breach Insurance
If your company conducts most of its business online, you face the risk of a cyber attack. Data breach insurance covers damages resulting from a successful hack of your or your customers’ information.
Types of Coverage Some custom prints businesses May Need
In addition to the policies outlined above, there are a few other types of coverage your custom prints business may require depending on certain aspects of your operations. Some of these might not apply to you, so be sure to ask your agent which policies are right for your business.
Commercial Umbrella Insurance
While your general liability insurance policy covers most claims, some accidents or lawsuits may be so catastrophic that they threaten to exhaust the limits of your primary coverage. Commercial umbrella insurance protects you from paying out-of-pocket for any legal fees and awarded damages that exceed your primary policy. This insurance also will cover costs associated with restoring your company’s reputation.
Home-Based Business Insurance
If you use any part of your home for your business, you may need this insurance to safeguard your equipment and space in your home devoted to your business. A typical homeowners insurance policy may not cover business-related items if you don’t disclose you use your home for business purposes.
Additional Steps to Protect Your Business
Although it's easy (and essential) to invest in business insurance, it should not be your frontline defense. Yes, insurance will compensate for your business' financial losses after an incident occurs, but it's much better to avoid losses altogether.
With this in mind, here are three things you can do to better protect your business:
- Use legally robust contracts and other business documents. (We offer free templates for some of the most common legal forms.)
- Set up a limited liability company (LLC) to protect your personal assets. (Refer to our guide for step-by-step instructions on how to form an LLC in your state.)
- Streamline your business' internal processes. This will remove unnecessary variables from common tasks and create a safe, consistent environment for conducting business.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is included in a business owner’s policy?
A typical business owner's policy includes general liability, business interruption, and property insurance. However, BOPs are often customizable, so your agent may recommend adding professional liability, commercial auto, or other types of coverage to your package depending on your company's needs.
What is the difference between business insurance and general liability insurance?
"Business insurance" is a generic term used to describe many different types of coverage a business may need. General liability insurance, on the other hand, is a specific type of coverage that business owners need to protect their assets.
Do I need insurance before I start a business?
You should invest in coverage for your business before your first interaction with a customer. Although the cost of insurance may seem high for a brand new business, it's best to be proactive when it comes to protecting your assets. After all, you can't buy insurance to cover a loss that has already occurred.
Will insurance protect my business from everything?
Not necessarily. Certain exceptions may be written directly into your policy, and some perils may be entirely uninsurable. Be sure to discuss the scope of your policy in-depth with your agent to avoid being blindsided by holes in your coverage.