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Understanding General Business Liability InsuranceBy Expert Author: Stam Bett
Small businesses face a great deal of uncertainty, and that's why small business liability insurance is so important. Accidents can happen at any time, no matter how hard you try to avoid them, and sometimes in spite of your efforts. There are many names for liability insurance, including commercial or business general liability insurance, but it's really just a form of protection for your business's assets.
General Business Liability Insurance
Liability insurance is meant to protect your assets by paying for costly obligations like medical bills if you are sued by someone who is hurt on your property, or regarding property damage or an employee or yourself causing injury. Business general liability insurance will also cover the cost for a legal defense along with a settlement if you are sued, including non-monetary losses and compensatory damages.
This form of insurance will also protect you against claims of false or misleading advertising against your business, while also protecting against liability as a tenant if you cause any damage to the business space you rent.
Do You Need Liability Insurance?
Does your business really need liability insurance? Consider this: about 80% of all businesses in the U.S. are partnerships or sole proprietorships, which means personal assets are at risk. If the business is sued, a judgement may be ordered that could cost you your life savings, your retirement and even your home. Small business liability insurance gives you the protection you need if you are sued for personal injuries or property damage by covering both the damages and legal costs. Even one accident can easily put you out of business, with legal costs alone easily topping $300,000 just to defend yourself.
Unfortunately, we live in a litigious society, and it's not unlikely that you will find yourself facing a claim at some point in time. General business liability insurance can actually save your business and it isn't nearly as expensive as you might guess. Depending on your business type and coverage, the annual premium may be somewhere between $750 to $2,000. Compare that to the cost of defending yourself in court and paying a substantial settlement!
While some business owners choose to buy liability insurance as a separate policy, it may be in your best interest to purchase it as a part of a Business Owner's Policy, which includes other important forms of business insurance.
The Details of Your Policy
Your liability insurance policy will have a maximum amount the policy will pay out for a claim. If your policy caps coverage at $350,000 and you are sued for $300,000 in medical expenses for an injury caused by a workplace hazard plus an additional $75,000 in legal fees, you will then need to pay the extra $25,000.
If you have a high-risk business or you already have a liability insurance policy, you can opt for excess coverage which increases this limit. This may be necessary in some cases if one of your clients requires your business have a certain amount of coverage to complete work.
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