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 WEDDING OFFICIANT
Example 1: When you’re filling out the paperwork for a client, you make an error on the forms. Due to the mistake, the couple isn’t technically married for several months. They decide to file a lawsuit for missed financial opportunities (e.g., tax rebates) as well as general aggravation. General liability insurance would compensate for any financial repercussions of the mistake.
Example 2: After performing a ceremony, one of your customer’s believes that you disrespected their spouse during the event. They begin to smear your business on social media and other independent review sites. General liability insurance would cover the costs associated with fighting the claims of the customer, so you can protect your reputation.
Example 3: During the ceremony, you back into one of your clients and they fall over. General liability insurance would cover the medical costs if the person sustained any major injuries.
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, wedding officiants 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 wedding officiants 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 wedding officiants should obtain:
Commercial Property Insurance
Many wedding officiants will work from home, but others will have a small office where they can meet and discuss matters with their clients. If this is the case and you own your property, you will need commercial property insurance. This insurance covers the structure, grounds, and administrative equipment in the case of loss due to fire, natural disaster, or criminal activity.
Data Breach Insurance
If you keep your clients’ details in a database, this insurance keeps your business safe in case of a data breach or hack. It works to compensate both you and your clients in the event that sensitive information is used for criminal gain.
Types of Coverage Some wedding officiants May Need
In addition to the policies outlined above, there are a few other types of coverage your wedding officiant 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 Liability Insurance
Commercial umbrella insurance will cover your business in the event that your primary general liability policy reaches its coverage limits. If you face a particularly large lawsuit, your general liability policy may max out before all damages or liabilities are satisfied. An umbrella policy will continue to provide funds to when a general liability policy has been exhausted.
Liquor Liability Insurance
Some wedding officiants may offer simple event planning for weddings. Even if you’re just planning to offer a champagne toast at the end of the ceremony, you may need liquor liability insurance to protect yourself against any adverse events that occur due to excess alcohol consumption.
Home-Based Business Insurance
If you operate your business from home, a home-based insurance policy will cover any commercial equipment you need to conduct your affairs. A general liability policy may deny requests if you have not disclosed you were using your home as your company’s base.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance
If you decide to hire additional officiants under your brand name, you’ll need workers’ compensation insurance in case they’re injured on the job. This includes part-time officiants or event workers.
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.