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 SCREEN BUSINESS
Example 1: You are installing screens on the windows of a client’s home when you drop tools on the hood of the client’s luxury sedan, making a hole. Your general liability insurance policy will cover damage to customer property. You can file a claim and get help repairing the damage.
Example 2: A competing screen business has filed a lawsuit against your company. They claim that you libeled them. Your general liability insurance policy covers legal fees for defending against libel accusations. It will pay for your attorney.
Example 3: One of your employees is unloading screens from the truck when he knocks over the client and she breaks her arm. She decides to sue your business. Your general liability insurance policy will pay your legal fees, including the cost of hiring an attorney.
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, screen 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 screen 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 screen businesses should obtain:
Commercial Property Insurance
You have invested a lot of money in the tools, equipment, screens, and other supplies you use to run your business. A commercial property insurance policy can provide the coverage you need to replace your supplies if you lose it in an unexpected event like a fire. You can file a claim and get the help you need with replacements.
Commercial Auto Insurance
The vehicle or vehicles you use for your screen business need commercial auto coverage. A policy will pay for vehicle damage repair after an accident, as well as for medical treatment for injuries sustained in the accident. If you are at fault, the policy will pay for repairs for the other vehicle and for medical treatment for the occupants of the vehicle.
Types of Coverage Some screen businesses May Need
In addition to the policies outlined above, there are a few other types of coverage your screen 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
You likely have employees in your screen business, which means state law requires you to carry workers’ compensation coverage. A workers’ comp policy will pay for medical treatment when employees get injured performing work-related tasks. It will also help pay for their lost wages while they are unable to work during recovery.
Commercial Umbrella Insurance
A commercial umbrella insurance policy will provide extra protection if the limits if you exceed your general liability insurance policy—which can happen if you lose a big lawsuit. The umbrella policy will kick in and start paying when the general liability insurance policy stops paying so you can avoid paying damages out of pocket.
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.