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.


Example 1: As one of your counselors moves new office furniture into the building, they accidentally drop a large chair in the path of a passing client. The client falls to the ground where he hits his head and then needs immediate medical attention for a possible concussion. General liability insurance would cover the client’s medical bills.

Example 2: Shortly after you clean up a coffee spill, an adolescent client runs through your lobby, slips on the wet floor, and suffers a severe injury. Her parents decide to take legal action against your counseling business. General liability insurance would pay for your legal fees as well as any settlement to your client, if needed.

Example 3: While moving boxes of client paperwork, your receptionist loses control of the dolly and causes significant property damage when the dolly hits a client’s car. General liability insurance would pay to repair the damages to your client’s car.

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, family counseling practices in America spend between $400 - $700 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:

Graph showing average price of general liability insurance prices per industry

Several factors will determine the price of your policy. These include your:

  • Location
  • Deductible
  • 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.

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Other Types Of Coverage Family Counseling Practices 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 family counseling practices should obtain.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

While a counseling office isn’t the most likely place for employees to sustain on-the-job injuries, 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.

Commercial Property Insurance

Creating a safe and relaxing counseling space for your clients to enjoy typically requires a substantial initial investment. If you own the building in which you operate, you’re responsible for all business-related property housed there in the event of a fire, burglary, or natural disaster. Commercial property insurance would cover the cost of repairing or replacing your office supplies, specialized furniture, and other business equipment after an accident so you can recover quickly.

Types Of Coverage Some Family Counseling Practices May Need

In addition to the policies outlined above, there are a few other types of coverage your family counseling practice 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 Auto Insurance

Because it’s common for counselors to provide transportation for younger clients or clients with special needs, you need to invest in commercial auto insurance. Any vehicle you use primarily for business requires this coverage to protect the vehicle, driver, and others on the road in the event of an accident. While most states regulate the minimum coverage required, this often leaves business owners exposed to potential lawsuits. Therefore, consider seeking the assistance of an insurance professional to help you determine the appropriate coverage limits 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.

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.