General liability insurance protects businesses from liability risks they face every day. If a customer or client, vendor, business partner, or anyone outside the company sues the business for costs associated with bodily injury or property damage, general liability can provide financial protection. That includes covering legal fees and settlements as outlined in the policy and up to the policy’s limit.
Also called commercial general liability insurance, this type of policy is essential for every business, large or small. Without it, the cost of one incident could destroy a company’s financial stability and the livelihood of its owners and employees.
Historians credit Benjamin Franklin with founding the first insurance company in the U.S. in 1752. It offered fire insurance to homeowners who were members of a “contributorship.”
As a tool for protecting individuals from the consequences of physical losses, it was different in multiple ways from today’s general liability insurance. Still, the core principle was the same: shielding policyholders from the potentially devastating financial repercussions of an event.
Fast forward to today, when it’s common for people who feel a business has caused them financial harm through an injury or property damage to sue that company. Unfortunately, even a small incident—a minor injury to a delivery person dropping off packages at your location, for example—can lead to significant legal expenses when lawyers, the court, and jurors get involved. You may end up with a large attorney bill for your defense even if you aren’t found liable.
Recognizing this, insurers like biBERK offer general liability insurance to protect business owners. And because many people—from employees and their families to customers—may rely on a small business, we’re protecting them, too, by helping the company keep its doors open in the face of costly lawsuits.
Shielding your business financially may be the most apparent reason to carry general liability insurance, but it isn’t the only one. For instance, small businesses and independent contractors in certain industries, like construction, may be legally required to have general liability coverage.
Some clients may also require the businesses they work with to prove they have general liability insurance since that helps insulate the client from legal defense costs and damages. In addition, it’s not uncommon for commercial landlords to require business tenants to have coverage before signing a lease.
General liability insurance provides financial protection in four areas: customer property damage, non-employee bodily injuries, product liability, and personal and advertising injuries.
You can customize your general liability insurance coverage to address specific business risks by adding what are called endorsements. These policy add-ons enhance or modify the policy’s coverage. biBERK offers these general liability policy endorsements:
One of our licensed insurance experts can help you determine whether you should add any endorsements to your general liability insurance policy.
Virtually any company can benefit from general liability business insurance. Coverage is particularly important if your business:
A related and equally important question is, “When do I need general liability insurance?” The answer is you need it right as you start your business.
Not surprisingly, you can’t purchase a general liability policy after an incident has occurred and then file a claim to cover that incident. It’s what’s called an occurrence policy, meaning an incident must occur during the policy term to be considered for coverage.
Unfortunately, it’s common for business owners to wish after the fact that they had a general liability policy the minute they opened their doors. Instead, they end up with a significant out-of-pocket expense.
General liability insurance is very affordable, especially considering the amount of protection it provides—with typical limits of hundreds of thousands of dollars or more. biBERK’s premiums start as low as $27.50 per month, which can be as much as 20% less than policies from other business insurance companies. That’s because we work with businesses directly rather than through brokers.
What you’ll pay for general liability insurance is based on several factors like the size and location of your company, the type of work you do, etc. But you can get an instant online quote to know your exact cost.
For a few hundred dollars per year, you can rest easy, knowing that if the unexpected happens, you won’t be stuck with a huge bill.
One of the great things about working with a company like biBERK is that we’re focused not only on protecting you financially but also on making it easy for you to get the coverage you need.
As noted above, you can obtain an instant quote on our website. Then, you can purchase and manage your biBERK policies online, as well. Plus, if you should ever have to report a claim, you can also do that conveniently online.
Business insurance isn’t so much an expense as it is a valuable asset to your company. Consequently, you should decide where to get your coverage carefully—just like you would with your company’s equipment or other physical assets. You should do your homework to determine who provides the best general liability insurance for small businesses.
Be aware that policy terms may sound similar among several insurance providers. However, the company behind the policy can vary greatly.
Imagine buying insurance from a small or newly established business insurance company only to discover when you need to report a claim that they may not be able to cover it or might no longer be in business. This can be problematic in instances of “late reporting and development.”
That’s a situation where, for example, someone suffers an injury at your location and doesn’t initially try to hold your company liable. Then, when their condition worsens months or even years later, they file a lawsuit. If your insurer is no longer around, you can end up with a large financial obligation.
This scenario and others like it emphasize that you should work with a company with deep roots in the insurance industry and ample financial resources to pay claims. The company should also employ licensed insurance experts who understand its products and its customers’ needs.
As a Berkshire Hathaway Insurance Group company, biBERK meets all those criteria. All of Berkshire Hathaway’s major insurance subsidiaries are rated A++ by A.M. Best Company. As an organization, we have millions of customers and over 75 years of insurance experience.
What’s more, Berkshire Hathaway paid $38 billion in claims in 2020. In short, biBERK will be there for you if you ever need to report a claim, large or small.
It’s common for clients, business project partners, or landlords to request proof that you have general liability insurance. Getting a record of your coverage is easy.
biBERK can provide policyholders with free Certificates of General Liability Insurance. Also called a Certificate of Insurance (COI), this document is available from our website. All you have to do is visit the Certificate of Insurance page, click Get a Certificate, and follow the instructions. This is another way we make small business insurance simple for our customers.
In some instances, a business associate may want to see themselves listed on your insurance certificate as what’s called an additional insured. If that’s the case, we can provide you with a customized COI. Simply call 1-844-472-0967, and we’ll take care of that for you promptly.
One of the best things about how business insurance companies like biBERK offer coverage is that there are different policies to cover various risks. That means you don’t have to pay for one comprehensive policy that includes coverage you don’t need.
Instead, you can purchase only the financial protection relevant to your business. If a general liability insurance policy covers all the types of risk your business is likely to face, it may be all you need. However, many companies maintain other coverages, some of which may be legally required.
At biBERK, we over seven types of policies you can choose from the create a solid insurance strategy:
As a business owner, you have countless decisions to make and tasks to handle. Having adequate general liability insurance and other coverage from biBERK in place takes a significant concern off your list.
Should the unexpected happen, you’ll have the support and resources of an industry leader behind you as you work to recover. And an incident that could have threatened your company’s future becomes a footnote in your success story that fades quickly into the past.