Starting your own small business can be one of the most rewarding things you ever do in your life. It grants you the freedom to run things your way, it lets you pursue your dreams and bring your ideas to life, and it lets you help your local community. The price is that it can also be one of the most stressful things you ever do. As a business owner, you’ll oversee daily operations, be responsible for your finances, and need to effectively manage your staff. The last thing you’ll need is to be responsible for a bodily injury on your business premises or other unfortunate events. Medical bills and legal costs can be enough to seriously damage, or even ruin, a small business. This is where liability coverage comes in.
What is public liability insurance?
Public liability insurance covers businesses, primarily, in case of injuries or deaths taking place on their premises. There are many common causes of accidents in businesses and public places, with slips and falls being among the most common. Slips and falls are caused by environmental factors roughly 56% of the time. These could be things like slippery floors, broken steps, or cluttered aisles. With public liability coverage, you’ll be protected in case a customer sues your business for an injury.
You can also be protected in cases of lost or damaged property. If a customer has their property stolen in your store, for example, they could have legal grounds for a lawsuit. This type of insurance also covers you for the costs of emotional trauma caused on your premises. Injuries are inherently traumatic events, and while emotional damages are difficult to put a price on, they can factor into customer settlements. Public liability coverage is a great start for any business, but it’s important to realize that it doesn’t cover everything. Here are some additional kinds of liability insurance you may want to consider.
Commercial General Liability
General liability insurance covers many of the same things as public liability, but it covers a wider range of people and situations. It also tends to be significantly more expensive, so general liability may be best for larger businesses. Basically, general liability protects not only the business, but also vendors, employees, and the owner. It also covers off-premises incidents that occur as a result of your operations. This coverage also protects you in cases of “advertising injury,” such as situations in which an advertisement is found slanderous or violates copyright law.
Indemnity insurance is generally recommended for businesses that give professional advice or offer services to customers. This type of insurance protects you in cases of customers or clients suffering a loss after receiving your services. Many professions require specific forms of indemnity insurance, such as medical malpractice insurance for healthcare providers. Another example is errors and omission insurance for accountants in case they give negligent advice.
This insurance should be purchased for any business that manufactures, sells, or distributes products. Put simply, it protects you in cases of injuries or property damages caused by your products. Losses suffered due to defective products are the most common examples, but it’s also possible for improper or damaged packaging to cause injuries.
Obtaining Liability Insurance
To get coverage from an insurance company, you’ll need to supply some basic information like the name and location of your business, how long you’ve owned it, the type of business and risks involved, number of employees, and a revenue estimate. This should be enough for underwriters to assess the risk of covering your business and start moving your application forward. Comparing public liability insurance with iSelect is easy to find a plan that works for your business.
Claire Peters is a contributor to the Los Angeles Post-Examiner and Baltimore Post-Examiner.