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.
COMMON SITUATIONS THAT GENERAL LIABILITY INSURANCE WOULD COVER FOR A TOW TRUCK COMPANY
Example 1: A customer who is stressed about their car being undrivable gets too close during loading and has their hand pinched between the car and the equipment. General Liability Insurance would cover the resulting medical payments for the injury.
Example 2: During a routine pick-up, one of your employees forgets to secure a strap that would properly secure the vehicle being towed. This results in the car detaching from the truck which causes major damage to the car. General Liability Insurance would cover the damage done to the customer’s vehicle.
Example 3: While dropping off a vehicle at an auto shop, you accidentally back the customer’s vehicle into the garage bay door. General Liability Insurance would cover the damage to the customer’s vehicle and the auto shop’s garage door.
Example 4: If a potential landlord requires business tenants to carry a certain amount of General Liability Insurance insurance as a condition of their lease, having a policy would make you eligible to rent a shop.
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 tow truck company in America spends between $450-$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 TOW TRUCK COMPANIES 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 tow truck companies should obtain:
Commercial Auto Insurance
Since you will be driving your truck on public roadways, you are mandated by the state to carry a commercial auto policy. Auto insurance protects not only your vehicle but any liability you may have in an accident. Your personal car insurance will not cover you if you are driving the tow truck, even if you are off duty.
Commercial Property Insurance
If you own your location instead of renting, you need commercial property insurance to protect the building. If your business is based out of your home, your homeowners' insurance will not cover the home when it is being used for commercial purposes. Property insurance also covers items owned by your business.
Towing companies invest heavily in the tools that are used to complete their work. Be sure that you have enough coverage to replace all of your tools in the case of a loss.
This coverage is generally offered in a Business Owner Policy (BOP).
TYPES OF COVERAGE SOME TOW TRUCK COMPANIES MAY NEED
In addition to the policies outlined above, there are a few other types of coverage your towing company 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 your towing company has any employees (full-time or part-time), you are legally required to carry workers’ compensation insurance. This type of coverage will help compensate your employees in the case that they get injured on the job.
Read more about workers’ compensation insurance.
Business Interruption Insurance
In the event of a fire, flood, or other catastrophes, there is a good chance your business operations will be halted for some time. Business interruption coverage is designed to help you recoup a portion of the revenue your business would lose due to the inability to operate.
This type of insurance is typically included in a business owner’s policy.
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.
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.