Commercial general liability insurance (CGL) is a crucial coverage that almost all businesses will need to acquire. This type of insurance protects your company if your activities cause third-party bodily injury, property damage, or personal injury. There’s always a possibility that someone who is not employed by you could be accidentally injured on your premises; CGL can provide financial support to protect you from the costly lawsuits and expenses that could result if this happens.
To determine the best general liability insurance companies, AdvisorSmith considered a number of factors, including financial strength ratings from AM Best and Standard & Poor’s, customer satisfaction data from several J.D. Power studies, complaint ratings from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, available features and options, and availability of information and ease of use of the insurers’ websites. We scored insurers out of a total of five points and only included those companies that scored 4.0 or higher.
It’s important to note that cost was not a factor in our evaluation, though you can take a look at our analysis of the average cost of general liability insurance for pricing information.
The Best General Liability Insurance Companies
|1||The Hartford||5.0 / 5.0|
|2||Chubb||4.9 / 5.0|
|3||Hiscox||4.7 / 5.0|
|4||CNA||4.7 / 5.0|
|5||Berkshire Hathaway GUARD||4.5 / 5.0|
|6||Travelers||4.5 / 5.0|
|7||Great American||4.3 / 5.0|
|8||Progressive Commercial||4.1 / 5.0|
|9||Zurich||4.0 / 5.0|
|10||Liberty Mutual||4.0 / 5.0|
*Not all insurance companies provide coverage in all states.
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More on the Best General Liability Insurers
AdvisorSmith found and rated the top commercial general liability insurance companies on a five-point scale, based on financial strength, customer satisfaction, ease-of-use, and a number of other factors. While many insurers were evaluated, only those with a score of 4.5 or more are listed below.
5.0 / 5.0
The Hartford has been given an A+ rating by both AM Best and Standard & Poor’s. The company offers liability coverage to companies in many industries, including those with a higher level of liability risks, such as manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors, and importers. The Hartford offers risk engineering consulting services that can provide guidance to help reduce risks.
4.9 / 5.0
Chubb has an A++ rating from AM Best and an AA rating from Standard & Poor’s, indicating excellent financial strength. Chubb is also highly ranked by several J.D. Power studies of commercial insurance satisfaction. The company also offers general liability insurance for many industries.
Chubb’s general liability insurance policies may offer a global extension for overseas businesses. Vendors and lessors are included as insureds. Chubb’s advertising and personal injury limit is not subject to an aggregate limit, and the company has an expanded definition of bodily injury that includes mental injury, humiliation, and shock.
4.7 / 5.0
Hiscox received A ratings from both AM Best and Standard & Poor’s, meaning it is financially strong but not at the highest level of financial strength, according to those ratings agencies. Hiscox specializes in insurance for small businesses, focusing on those in professional services industries. Its general liability insurance policies include electronic data liability coverage, which is a common concern for professional services companies. It also automatically includes temporary employees in coverage.
4.7 / 5.0
CNA received an A rating from AM Best and an A+ from Standard & Poor’s. The insurer offers endorsements designed for specific industries such as manufacturing, construction, real estate, and architecture, providing the most frequently requested coverage for those industries. It also offers product withdrawal and recall coverage.
4.5 / 5.0
Berkshire Hathaway GUARD has an AM Best rating of A++ and a Standard & Poor’s rating of AA, meaning it is financially very strong. It covers a variety of industries, including manufacturing, wholesalers and distributors, resorts, golf courses, and more. Industry-specific endorsements and customizations are also available.
Berkshire Hathaway GUARD offers aggregate limits of up to $6 million. Premium discounts are available based on the age and condition of the insured’s building, the experience level of employees, and the care, condition, and type of premises to be covered.
Brokers for General Liability Insurance
General liability insurance is one of the most common insurance coverages that small businesses purchase, and nearly every commercial insurer offers this type of coverage. Because many insurers offer general liability coverage, it makes sense for small businesses to shop around and compare prices. A great way to do this is through an online broker, as they can get take a look at the needs of your particular business and find quotes from multiple insurance companies. Below, we’ve highlighted a few of the top brokers that offer general liability insurance.
CoverageSmith is a leading online broker specializing in insurance for small businesses. The company provides a modern, tech-enabled solution for businesses, allowing them to quickly get the insurance they need, completely online, from some of the most trusted insurance carriers in the world, including Chubb, The Hartford, AIG, and CNA.
CoverWallet is an online broker backed by Aon, an insurer with an A rating from AM Best. The company provides online quotes, assessments to help you understand what types of insurance your business needs, and online claims processes. CoverWallet also provides information and reading material on general liability. It may be possible to manage your pre-existing insurance policies through CoverWallet.
Embroker is backed by Munich Re, a financially strong insurer with an A+ rating from AM Best and an AA- rating from Standard & Poor’s. Embroker offers online quotes and claims, in addition to assistance that is available 24/7 via live chat, email, or phone. Embroker also provides a personal account manager who can help with insurance needs.
Thimble is backed by Markel Insurance Company, an established insurer known for its focus on small business coverage and strong financial footing, with A ratings from both AM Best and Standard & Poor’s. Thimble is known for offering flexible policies for small business owners that can be purchased by the job, month, or year.
How much does general liability insurance cost?
The average cost of general liability insurance in the U.S. is $597 per year or $50 per month for small businesses. Because the risk of property damage or bodily injury varies widely and is strongly dependent upon the type of business, one of the primary drivers of insurance cost is the industry in which a business operates.
The table below lists the average insurance cost in a selection of industries as studied by AdvisorSmith. These costs reflect average insurance premiums for small businesses with under $500,000 in revenue for coverage limits of $1 million per occurrence / $2 million aggregate.
|Industry||Average Annual Cost|
|Construction & Contracting||$1,076|
|Food and Hospitality||$776|
|IT / Technology||$418|
|Photo & Video||$461|
|Sports and Fitness||$477|
In addition to the type of business, other major factors in the cost of general liability insurance include coverage level, company revenue, number of employees, physical location, and size of business’s physical location.
What does general liability insurance cover?
General liability insurance, also known as commercial general liability, covers your company if you unintentionally harm a third party. This is a key coverage because almost all companies have some level of risk for these claims. Risk exposure is particularly high for companies that perform dangerous work or have a high amount of foot traffic, such as retail businesses or companies that perform services for clients. However, even very small, non-dangerous businesses that rarely host outside visitors may still receive deliveries or require the services of repair technicians—all situations that could lead to an injury.
General liability insurance provides financial assistance for a variety of different types of harm, including bodily injury, property damage, and personal and advertising injury.
- Bodily injury coverage will cover you if someone who is not your employee is injured on your property or in the course of your work.
- Property damage coverage will provide funds if you damage someone’s property through your work.
- Personal and advertising injury covers many non-physical injuries, including copyright infringement, libel, slander, wrongful arrest, and a number of other types of claims.
- Products and completed operations coverage kicks in if your company’s products or completed services cause bodily injury or property damage.
In order to determine the best general liability insurance for small business, AdvisorSmith considered several factors to ensure you get the best coverage for your business. The top factors we assessed are an insurer’s financial strength, customer satisfaction, ease-of-use, and policy options. AdvisorSmith determined these factors have the greatest impact when selecting general liability insurance companies for your small business.
Using our own proprietary scoring algorithm, we weighted each component based upon what we believe to be important for small and midsize business owners. Our algorithm outputted a score out of five total points. While we considered a number of insurers, we only included in this article those companies that scored 4.0 or higher.
In order to assess an insurer’s financial strength, we looked at ratings from two of the most prominent rating agencies in the financial industry, AM Best and Standard & Poor’s. These agencies rate insurers on their ability to pay claims, and we believe that their ratings are a strong indicator of an insurer’s financial stability. We gave the greatest weight to AM Best ratings due to their focus on the insurance industry, but we also considered Standard & Poor’s ratings in our analysis.
Customer satisfaction is another important factor that we considered when determining the best general liability insurance companies for small business. We believe that it is important for insurers to provide good customer service in order to maintain their policyholders. In order to assess customer satisfaction ratings, we looked at ratings from J.D. Power’s U.S. Small Commercial Insurance Study as well as its U.S. Business Insurance Study. In both of these studies, J.D. Power surveys customers of insurers and asks them to rate their satisfaction on a number of different factors. Additionally, AdvisorSmith evaluated complaint ratings from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) to determine customer satisfaction. We believe that these ratings are a good indicator of the service that an insurer provides to its policyholders.
Another important factor that we considered when determining the best general liability insurance companies for small business is ease-of-use. We believe that it is important for insurers to have user-friendly websites and claims processes so that policyholders can easily manage their policies and get help when they need it. In order to assess ease-of-use, we looked at each insurer’s website and claims process to see how user-friendly they are. We also reviewed customer ratings of each insurer in the J.D. Power studies, how easy it is to file a claim with their insurer.
Lastly, we considered the policy options that each insurer offers when determining the best general liability insurance companies for small business. We believe that it is important for insurers to offer a variety of policy options so that business owners can find the coverage that they need. In order to assess the policy options offered by each insurer, we looked at the coverages that each company offers as well as the endorsements that are available.
After considering all of these factors, we believe that the companies highlighted in this article are the best general liability insurance companies for small business. If you are a small business owner in need of general liability insurance, we recommend that you request quotes from the companies in this article to find the best rate for your business.
The AdvisorSmith rankings are based upon our editorial team’s quantitative and qualitative analysis, and they are intended to serve only as a guide for our readers. We encourage our readers to conduct their own research when selecting a commercial insurance provider, shop and compare quotes, and make a decision based on their own unique business needs.
AdvisorSmith is in no way compensated for any of our reviews.