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 GUTTER CLEANING BUSINESS
Example 1: A new employee is cleaning the gutters of a client when he accidentally pulls too hard on the gutter. It rips off, taking a portion of the roof with it. Your general liability insurance covers damage to customer property.
Example 2: A client is talking to you while you are cleaning her gutters. The gutter breaks loose and strikes her on the head, requiring a trip to the hospital. She asks that you pay for her treatment. Your general liability insurance will likely cover this expense.
Example 3: A potential client sees your business’s sign and stops by to talk to you about your services. He makes a trip to the restroom and slips and falls, breaking his arm. He decides to sue your business. Your general liability insurance will pay for your legal defense, including the cost of a settlement if one is necessary.
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, gutter cleaning businesses in America spend between $500 - $1,500 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.
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Other Types of Coverage gutter cleaning 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 gutter cleaning businesses should obtain:
Professional Liability Insurance
Professional liability insurance is designed specifically for your business. It protects you against negligence claims due to mistakes or failure to perform. If a client sues you, claiming that a mistake you made caused him or her injury, your policy will pay for your legal defense. It will also pay for a settlement if one is required.
Commercial Auto Insurance
If you have a vehicle that you use for business, you need commercial auto insurance to meet your state’s insurance requirements. It will provide protection for the vehicle, those in the vehicle, and other people on the road. If you are involved in an accident, it will help pay for repair or replacement costs and for medical treatment.
Types of Coverage Some gutter cleaning businesses May Need
In addition to the policies outlined above, there are a few other types of coverage your gutter cleaning 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.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance
If you have employees, your state likely requires that you carry workers’ compensation insurance. It will protect your employees if they are injured performing work-related duties. It will cover medical treatment for work-related injuries and will help to pay for lost wages if they are unable to work while they recover.
Commercial Umbrella Insurance
An umbrella policy is designed to kick in when your general liability insurance limits are exceeded. Your limits may be exceeded in certain circumstances, like if you lose a major lawsuit. Instead of having to pay the remaining damages out of pocket, you can rely on your umbrella policy up until its limits are reached.
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.