General Liability Insurance: Before opening your business, one of the most important first steps you need to take is purchasing a general liability insurance policy. Why? Because without commercial insurance, any damages your customers suffer because of your employees, products, or services will fall squarely on your shoulders to make right. Depending on the industry your organization is in will also determine if coverage is mandatory, what minimums you must carry, and other policies you may need.
Unsure if you even need insurance? Below are the top eight industries that benefit from this
Believe it or not, as a fitness trainer, you face significant general liability risks every time you work out. For example, if you conduct a group fitness activity where a piece of equipment malfunctions and injures your client, they could decide to hold you liable for their medical damages.
General liability policies cover more than bodily injury claims, though. For example, if you’re trying to drum up new business and advertise weight loss guarantees of 15 lbs or more in the first week of training. Failing to deliver could find you defending false advertising claims by the disappointed client.
It’s also important to note that many gyms only allow certified personal trainers to use their facilities if they have this type of coverage and proof of their policy and certification.
Building and Repair Contractors
Worksite accidents are a serious risk if you run a home remodeling company or own a large construction firm. General liability insurance can cover incidents where a customer or visitors sustain injuries while on-site, including in situations of accidental death. This insurance is crucial coverage that many states require for builders and contractors to operate legally.
If your company doesn’t have this policy option, the consequences of an accident could have astronomical implications for your assets and the future of your business.
Whether planting flower beds and trees or performing general yard work like mowing, working on someone’s property can be risky. For example, if a lawnmower throws a rock that breaks a window or strikes someone, your company may have a serious injury or property damage claim to handle.
General liability insurance can cover any medical bills your client incurred and pay for repairs and any legal fees should you get sued.
One of the exciting aspects of owning a retail business is having a storefront. But, the risk of trips, slips, and falls is a serious issue that you could be liable for if they occur on your property or inside your leased establishment.
What happens if you operate a bicycle repair shop and an employee damages a client’s expensive marathon bike? Again, your general liability policy will cover these events, which will save your finances and your reputation.
Commercial Property Owners
You are probably already familiar with commercial property insurance if you manage an apartment complex, business park, or small strip mall. However, general liability covers the damage your company causes to others, not including your employees.
For example, commercial property insurance would cover the damage if a tree came down and crushed a couple of cars in your parking lot. Or, let’s say a visitor fell because of a hidden hole in the law of your apartment complex. Your policy would handle their broken ankle treatment and potential personal injury suit costs. This insurance also includes your defense costs should you get sued.
Real Estate Agents
Unlike contractors, fitness trainers, and other industries involving physical risk, realtors frequently deal with damage claims relating to false advertising related to the properties they sell. General liability coverage protects agents from financial injuries related to omissions in listings and defamatory suits brought by their competitors.
Still, there are times when bodily harm claims might occur. Open houses are one such opportunity for things to go wrong no matter how well-prepared your event is. If a prospective home buyer slips on a rug or uneven stair, you may find yourself on the receiving end of a personal injury suit.
Consultants and Independent Contractors
When you work independently without any employees and conduct most of your business from behind a computer screen, you may think that your liability is low risk. Unfortunately, the reality is quite the opposite. IT consultants, for example, who fail to adequately maintain security protocols that lead to a data breach event could face financial consequences for their failure. Without general liability coverage, the economic impact could be devastating.
Independent contractors face much the same risk, especially if they are in the construction industry and perform their services at someone’s residence or office. Suits related to damaged property, false advertisement, and bodily harm are not uncommon when mistakes get made.
The cleaning industry experiences thousands of claims annually involving slips and falls on wet surfaces and property damage. Insurance protects your company by taking on the liability for any damage you might cause to a customer’s home or business, including any injury claims from your employees or services.
General liability is a must-have for any cafe, restaurant, or similar eatery to defend against patron’s claims, such as being burnt by hot coffee or becoming sick from a food-borne illness. Much like any other premises, you’re responsible for keeping your publicly accessible property safe and free of hazards.
How will you cover their damages if a customer slips in the bathroom because of a toilet leak you’ve neglected? Without insurance, you would pay for every related expense out of your own pocket.
Without general liability coverage, it only takes one personal injury suit or property damage claim to potentially bankrupt your business and ruin your brand’s reputation. Then, judgments, legal fees, mediation costs, and more can turn your rags to riches story into rags once again.
Millions of business owners mitigate these risks by purchasing a policy when they form their companies. Since many commercial projects require involved parties to have liability coverage, understanding liability coverage prices before you buy is even more critical.
Take time to shop around and determine what additional insurance may be necessary to provide your company with the best possible protection. Having peace of mind knowing that your hard work can survive a personal injury suit or other liability claims can let you focus on long-term sustainability and growth.