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 IMPORT & EXPORT BUSINESS
Example 1: A potential investor group arrives early for a meeting — before your office cleaning staff has a chance to display a “caution” sign in the newly mopped lobby. One of the investors slips on the wet floor, fractures her wrist, needs immediate medical attention, and asks you to cover the cost of her ambulance trip and hospital stay. General liability insurance would cover her medical bills.
Example 2: As an employee uses a forklift to load merchandise onto a shipping truck, he accidentally backs into a client’s luxury car. The client sues because the impact causes serious damage to his property. General liability insurance would cover your legal fees as well as any court-awarded damages.
Example 3: A few weeks after launching your new company logo, a nearby rival claims it infringes on their copyright and threatens to sue. General liability insurance would cover your legal fees and any awarded damages.
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, import & export businesses 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:
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.
Other Types Of Coverage Import & Export 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 import & export businesses should obtain.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Operating an import and export business means your employees face a variety of on-the-job risks. 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 Auto Insurance
Any vehicle you or your employees use primarily for business requires commercial auto insurance to protect the vehicle, driver, and others on the road in the event of an accident. Be sure to select a policy that covers not only accident-related vehicle repair costs and medical treatment for anyone injured, but also sufficient protection for any business materials you carry in your vehicles.
Types Of Coverage Some Import & Export Businesses May Need
In addition to the policies outlined above, there are a few other types of coverage your import & export 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.
Commercial Property Insurance
Establishing a thriving import and export business requires a significant initial investment in your own brick-and-mortar building. If you lost your building or its contents in an unexpected event like a fire, you may find it difficult to replace that business property on your own. Commercial property insurance would cover the cost of repairing or replacing your business building and its contents after an accident so you can recover quickly.
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) or corporation to protect your personal assets. (Visit our step-by-step guides to learn how to form an LLC or corporation in your state.)
- Stay up to date with business licensing.
- Streamline your business’ internal processes. This will remove unnecessary variables from common tasks and create a safe, consistent environment for conducting business.
Steps After Getting Business Insurance
Depending on where you are in your business building process, here are some other actions you may need to take before getting started:
- If you’re just starting, finding the best name for your business is a great first step. Check out TRUiC’s Business Name Generator.
- After finding the perfect name, get a logo with our Logo Generator.
- Every business needs a website. Using a website builder like the GoDaddy Website Builder or Wix makes building a website simple and fast! Check out our review of the Best Website Builder.
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.