What Is Personal and Advertising Injury Insurance?

Personal and advertising injury insurance covers acts of harm — intentional or otherwise — made toward an individual or business that result in unintentional outcomes. Personal and advertising injury coverage is included under Coverage B of your general liability insurance policy.

Our guide will help you better understand what personal and advertising injuries are, and if your business would benefit from purchasing a policy that includes this protection. 

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What Are Personal and Advertising Injuries?

Personal and Advertising Injury Definition:

Personal and advertising injuries are acts of harm — intentional acts or otherwise — toward an individual or business that result in unintentional outcomes. 

While there are some slight differences between personal injuries and advertising injuries, they are typically referred to as one category. 

Some common examples of personal and advertising injuries include:

  •  Libel
  •  Slander 
  •  Invasion of privacy
  •  Copyright infringement

The unintentional outcome aspect is what distinguishes personal and advertising injuries from other liability coverage. While harmful acts done with intentional outcomes are usually included in commercial general liability policies under Coverage A, personal and advertising injury coverage is included under Coverage B.

Personal Injuries Explained

Personal injuries, in the context of advertising and personal injury insurance, are injuries that violate the rights of a person or business but don’t include bodily harm. 

The following are considered personal injuries:

  • Invasion of privacy
  • Unlawful arrest or detainment (false arrest)
  • Wrongful eviction
  • Malicious prosecution

Personal Injury Examples

Examples of personal and advertising injuries cover a wide range of scenarios.

Example 1: You’re a contractor, and you decide to use photos of the house from your latest home renovation on the front page of your website. But, if you didn’t get explicit permission from the client to use these photos, the client could sue for invasion of privacy.

Example 2: You’re a business owner with a physical shop, and you suspect a customer of shoplifting. This customer is the only other person in your store, so you lock the doors to prevent them from leaving before the police can arrive. If your suspicions were wrong and the customer was not stealing, you could be sued for unlawful arrest or detainment. 

While personal and liability injury coverage can help protect you and your business against unlawful detainment claims, it can also help when it comes to unlawful eviction claims. 

Example: You own a commercial building and rent the unused spaces out to a few local business owners. One of the businesses has been offending the other retailers in the building, and they have all complained to you about losing crucial foot traffic and potential customers. You decide to evict the business in question and give them two weeks to move out. If you don’t follow the proper local procedure for evictions, the business owner in question could file a claim against you for unlawful eviction. 

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Advertising Injuries Explained

Your business can be sued for advertising injuries regardless of whether the advertising had malicious intent. This includes oral or written publication.

The following are considered advertising injuries:

  • Copyright infringement
  • Privacy violations
  • Slander or libel of a person or company

Examples of Advertising Injury

 An advertising injury claim is covered when a claimant seeks compensation for offenses as described below. While various courts differ on the matter of copyright infringement, your personal and advertising injuries insurance coverage can help with the costs of legal representation.

Example 1: You create a logo for your new brand and begin to use it for your business. However, unbeknownst to you, another business has already been using a very similar logo. The other business could sue you for advertising injuries. 

Example 2: You launch an advertising campaign to distinguish your business from similar companies further. In your marketing, you mention that certain competitors are working with outdated technology. Even though you were confident when creating this post that you were correct, some of your statements about these other businesses are false. Because you have made false claims, these businesses could file suit against you for libel.

Claims That Aren’t Covered by Personal and Advertising Injury Insurance

Injury that results from intentional acts of harm with intentional consequences are not considered personal and advertising injuries. These types of injuries fall within Coverage A of general liability policies. This includes:

  • Bodily injury
  • Property damage
  • The harm of an employee

Examples of Intentional Acts of Harm Not Covered by PAI Insurance

Consider the scenario described earlier involving unlawful detainment. In that example, the business owner suspects the customer of theft and detains the customer until law enforcement can arrive. However, if the business owner knew that the customer was not shoplifting and detained them due to a personal grudge, this would not be considered a personal and advertising injury. 

Additionally, any acts of harm toward an employee in your company will not be covered by personal and advertising injuries coverage. For matters regarding employee harm, you will need workers’ compensation insurance. While personal and advertising injuries coverage does not include physical and/or property damage, these scenarios are typically included in another section of general liability insurance.

In addition to knowing what your coverage does and doesn’t include, it’s also important to be aware of your coverage timeline. Some policies may not cover your claim if the incident occurred outside of your coverage dates. If you’re switching insurance policies or providers, be sure to avoid any gap in your coverage.

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Personal and Advertising Coverage FAQ

What is an exclusion for personal and advertising injury coverage?

Personal and advertising injury coverage excludes intentional acts of harm, bodily harm, property damage, and acts of harm toward an employee in your company.

What does personal and advertising injury limit mean?

A personal and advertising injury limit is the most the insurer will pay for all damages assessed against any one person or company.

What damages are covered by a commercial general liability policy (CGL)?

The most common of all business insurance policies, commercial general liability insurance (CGL) protects your business from the financial burden of claims arising from bodily injury, personal injury, or property damage.

Businesses are often required to carry a general liability insurance policy to participate in basic operations such as: renting office space, bidding on a contract, performing services on client premises, etc.

How can I avoid personal and advertising injury claims?

To best protect your business, be sure to always ask permission before using photos of others or their property for your business website, social media, ads, etc. It’s also important to always be mindful of what you say (oral or published) and be diligent with fact-checking before making statements. Being mindful of copyright and requesting permission before using others’ images or slogans is essential, as well. 

Is false advertising covered by insurance?

False advertising is covered under coverage B of general liability insurance policies. False advertising is an example of a personal and advertising injury.

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