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: On a rainy day, a customer slips on your shoe store’s floor and bumps their head in the fall. The bump results in a concussion and requires a ride to the hospital. General liability insurance would likely cover any medical bills or legal costs associated with the incident.

Example 2: A Black Friday sale draws in lots of customers, and they rush through the doors when your shoe store opens. In the jostling, one customer is unintentionally pushed to the ground and trampled by others. They have multiple injuries that require medical care. General liability insurance would probably cover care that’s needed.

Example 3: While a customer is trying on a pair of stilettos, the heel brakes and they fall. They sustain a sprained ankle and fractured wrist in the fall. General liability insurance would probably cover any lawsuit associated with the fall and necessary medical treatment.

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

The average shoe store in America spends between $350-$750 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 Shoe Stores 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 shoe stores should obtain:

Commercial Property Insurance

If your shoe store owns the space it’s in, you probably need commercial property insurance for the building. In addition to insuring buildings, commercial property insurance can also protect equipment that’s kept on your store’s property.

Commercial property insurance is often included in a business owner’s policy (BOP).

Workers’ Compensation Insurance

As long as your shoe store has employees, you probably have to protect those employees with workers’ compensation insurance. Workers’ compensation insures against on-the-job injuries, and most states require businesses that employ people to carry it.

Product Liability Insurance

Businesses are sometimes held financially responsible for damage and/or injuries that occur if their products fail. Product liability insurance protects against product-related risks like these.

Even though the risk exposure for a shoe store may be minimal, this is still a good coverage to consider. When a product does fail, customers sometimes sue any business that handled the product—including the manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer, and others. Your business doesn't have to be at fault to be named in a lawsuit and face expensive legal costs.

Product liability insurance is frequently available through a BOP.

Types Of Coverage Some Shoe Stores May Need

In addition to the policies outlined above, there are a few other types of coverage your shoe store 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

Umbrella coverage allows you to extend above and beyond the standard limits of your other business insurance policies. If you are faced with a large lawsuit or other claim situation, there’s a possibility that the coverage limits of your standard policies will be insufficient. In this case, your umbrella policy will allow you to surpass these limits.

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.