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 WINDOW WASHING BUSINESS
Example 1: When you’re washing a second-story window, you cause structural damage to the windowsill and side of the home. General liability insurance should help pay to restore the property to its original condition.
Example 2: When you’re unloading your window washing equipment, you accidentally hit the client with one of your telescopic poles. General liability insurance would likely cover the costs of any medical injuries that resulted from the accident.
Example 3: The logo of your window washing company is similar to that of another cleaning company in an adjacent town. The cleaning company sues for lost revenue and copyright infringement. General liability insurance would likely cover the costs of the lawsuit or the costs to formally settle the disagreement out of court.
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, window washing 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 window washing 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 window washing businesses should obtain:
Commercial Property Insurance
If you own an office where you store your window washing equipment and/or book your appointments, you’ll need commercial property insurance in case of an unexpected event. This insurance covers your structure, equipment, and grounds in case of damage due to poor weather, theft, or fire.
Commercial Auto Insurance
This insurance covers the vehicle you use to drive from job to job. A personal auto insurance policy may deny claims for damaged commercial equipment (or other property damage) if it is found that you use your vehicle for business purposes.
Types of Coverage Some window washing businesses May Need
In addition to the policies outlined above, there are a few other types of coverage your window washing 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 Liability Insurance
This insurance is available in case your general liability policy cannot cover the full costs of a serious lawsuit. For example, if a client sues you for $200,000 worth of structural damage, and your general liability insurance will only cover $100,000, an umbrella insurance policy will likely cover the extra funds if you are found liable.
If you operate your business from your home or garage, this insurance is available to cover your commercial equipment in case of damage from severe weather, theft, fire, or vandalism. Personal home insurance policies may deny business-related claims.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance
If you have any employees working for you, you’ll need workers’ compensation insurance to cover any injuries they may sustain while on the job. This includes major accidents as well as chronic injuries, such as back pain from repetitive window-washing motions.
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.