Cyber Liability Insurance protects your business from losses stemming from hacking, data breaches, or other cyberattacks.
Get a quote on Cyber Insurance
If your business stores sensitive data such as Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, health records, or other confidential information about your customers, partners, or vendors, you may be at risk for a hack or data breach. Cyber Liability Insurance can provide coverage for this risk.
What is Cyber Liability Insurance?
Cyber Liability Insurance covers your business against liability and property losses caused by cyberattacks such as hacks, data breaches, denial of service attacks, and viruses.
With the increasing adoption of digital technologies in business, there are a number of new risks for businesses as they could be the victim of data theft, unauthorized access, or cyberextortion. Commercial general liability and commercial property policies generally exclude coverage for cyber liability and electronic data, so you may not have coverage for data breaches without a Cyber Liability Insurance policy in place.
Cyber Liability Insurance can cover losses your business experiences due to cyberattacks, whether they are first-party losses or losses from third-party legal claims. Cyber Liability Insurance can provide coverage in a number of scenarios:
- Your business is hacked and your customers’ personal data is stolen. Your customers file suit against your business for the violation of their privacy.
- Your business is hacked and credit card information is stolen. Government regulators and your credit card network issue fines and penalties against your company.
- In the wake of a data breach, your business must hire consultants to recover your data. You also run advertisements to notify your customers of the breach.
- Your data center is hacked and your systems are held hostage. The cybercriminals demand that your business pay a ransom in order to regain access.
Who needs Cyber Liability Insurance?
Business owners who store sensitive, confidential, or proprietary information can benefit from Cyber Liability Insurance. If your business stores any of the following information, you should consider the protections provided by Cyber Liability Insurance:
- Credit card numbers or other payment information
- Personally identifiable information (PII) including names, email addresses, phone numbers, addresses, Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, and more
- Protected health information, including medical records and patient payment history
- Trade secrets or patent applications
Do small businesses need Cyber Liability Insurance?
Small businesses can benefit from Cyber Liability Insurance and protection from data breaches just as much as large businesses. While much of the news you hear about cyberattacks and data breaches likely involves security lapses at large corporations, like Equifax or Target, the reality is small businesses are just as at risk.
In fact, small businesses may be even more vulnerable, as many smaller companies lack the time, expertise, and resources to establish advanced security protocols, train employees, and implement strong digital protections. Additionally, the financial costs necessary to remediate a data breach may be out of reach for smaller businesses.
Cyber Liability Insurance can provide small businesses with the financial support they may need in the event of a cyberattack.
What does Cyber Liability Insurance cover?
Cyber Liability Insurance covers financial losses from data breaches, hacking, viruses, denial of service attacks, and other similar cyber events.
Cyber Liability Insurance has two major components: third-party liability coverage and first-party coverage. Third-party coverage provides protection when a customer, vendor, partner, or other party sues you for allowing a data breach to happen. First-party coverage protects your company when you incur expenses from a data breach or when your company is hacked. You may choose to purchase either or both types of coverage.
Third-Party Liability Coverage
The third-party liability coverage provided by Cyber Liability Insurance provides protection against lawsuits filed by clients or others against your business as a result of a breach of their security or privacy. These lawsuits can accuse your business of failing to adequately protect data you possess that belongs to customers, employees, vendors, or others.
Some of the claims and costs that third-party liability may cover include:
- Legal expenses. If your business is sued, Cyber Liability Insurance can cover attorney’s fees, court costs, and any resulting judgments or settlements.
- Network security claims. If your company suffers a network security failure, you could be sued. Covered events include data breaches, viruses and malware, denial of service attacks, or unauthorized access by a hacker or rogue employee. It can also cover your business if you have trade secrets or patent applications for clients that are exposed in a hack or data breach.
- Privacy claims. Your business could be sued for negligence in failing to protect sensitive data of others stored on your company’s network and systems. In addition to hacks and viruses, privacy breaches can include a breach of a physical record, such as files tossed into a dumpster. It can also include human error such as a lost laptop or sending a file full of customer account data to the wrong email address. Privacy claims can also include the wrongful collection of personal information.
- Employee privacy liability. If sensitive data about your employees is stolen from your company systems, including PII, your business could be sued.
- Regulatory fines. Government regulators may impose fines, penalties, and other costs on your business in response to a data breach.
Third-party liability insurance is generally written on a claims-made basis, which means coverage is only available if the claim is submitted while the insurance policy is active. Most general liability policies are written on an occurrence basis, which covers claims submitted after the policy ends if the event causing the claim occurred while the insurance was active.
First-party coverage provides protection against the financial losses your business incurs due to a data breach, hack, or other cyber event.
First-party coverage can provide for the costs of responding to and recovering from a data breach. These costs can include:
- Notifying your customers or employees affected by the breach. Many states require businesses to notify affected customers or employees if personally identifiable information is involved in a data breach.
- Providing credit monitoring services to those affected by the data breach. Although most states do not require providing credit monitoring services after a data breach, it can be a helpful tool to aid your public relations efforts.
- Hiring technical consultants or lawyers to find out whether a breach happened, the extent of the breach, and any regulatory compliance necessary.
- Advertising and public relations costs to educate customers or other affected parties about the breach and help to fix your company’s reputation.
If your company’s electronic data is lost, damaged, or corrupted due to a hack, virus, or denial of service attack, you can be covered under first-party coverage. This coverage also extends to data belonging to others stored on your systems.
First-party coverage will reimburse your company for the costs to restore or recover the lost or damaged data, as well as the costs to hire consultants to help you restore or repair your data.
Data recovery coverage usually does not cover data loss due to mistakes made by your business or your employees. For example, if your employee accidentally deletes your critical business data, it would not be covered.
Because commercial property coverage usually excludes coverage for electronic data, having data recovery coverage can be valuable if your company experiences a hack or cyberattack.
Business income insurance, also known as business interruption insurance, is also available on many Cyber Liability Insurance policies. A typical business income insurance policy that is attached to a commercial property policy only covers perils that cause physical damage. Usually, commercial property coverages do not provide coverage for electronic data.
If the loss or destruction of data leads to a disruption in your ability to do business, this coverage can pay for the loss of business income your business experiences.
- Your business is hacked, and data critical for your sales team to sell on a daily basis is destroyed. Your business income insurance under your commercial property policy will not provide any coverage, even though you will experience lost sales and profits. Cyber liability coverage can reimburse you for the lost sales and profits when data is lost due to a cyberattack.
Note, however, that this coverage only applies to lost profits that are directly caused by the cyberattack. If your sales decline due to a hit to your reputation from the data breach or cyberattack, these declines will not be covered, as they are not directly caused by the breach or attack.
First-party coverage can also cover cyberextortion. If your business is threatened with damage to your computer systems or networks unless you pay a ransom, this insurance can provide coverage.
- A hacker gains access to your computer network and threatens to delete all of your customer data unless you pay them money. The data includes financial records, contact information, and usernames and passwords. Cyber Liability Insurance would cover the cost of the ransom.
First-party coverage can also provide coverage for the money you spend to respond to the extortion demand, in addition to any ransom you pay. The insurer’s consent is usually required before you pay these expenses.
What is data breach insurance?
Data breach insurance is a type of cyber insurance that provides for a more limited set of protections than a broad Cyber Liability Insurance policy. Also commonly known as first-party Cyber Liability Insurance, data breach insurance deals only with first-party losses that your business directly incurs, rather than third-party losses where your company’s data breach causes a customer or employee to suffer a financial loss.
What is not covered by Cyber Liability Insurance?
Cyber Liability Insurance is primarily designed to protect your business from cyberattacks. However, there are some exclusions to the coverage from this insurance. These include:
- Damage to your business reputation as a result of a data breach.
- Costs to fortify and improve your internal technology systems.
- Lost future sales because customers avoid your business after a breach.
- Loss of intellectual property owned by your business.
- Damage to your business caused by your own or your employee’s actions. For example, you install new software that causes your network to go down for several days.
It’s also important to note that many policies have a waiting period, during which losses will not be covered. For example, a policy with an 12-hour waiting period will not pay for any losses incurred during the first 12 hours of a network outage.
Deductibles and Sublimits
Many Cyber Liability Insurance policies have sublimits for first-party coverage. A sublimit is part of the limits of insurance, but it places a maximum on the amount of coverage for that type of loss. For example, if you have a Cyber Liability Insurance policy of $1 million with a 50% sublimit on first-party coverage, the most the policy will pay for first-party losses is $500,000, and the most it will pay for all kinds of losses including first-party losses is $1 million.
Many Cyber Liability Insurance policies also have a deductible, which means that your business retains part of the risk of the loss, up to the amount of the deductible.
How much does Cyber Liability Insurance cost?
The average cost of Cyber Liability Insurance in the U.S. is $1,501 per year. The costs of insuring your business against data breaches and hacking attacks varies based upon the nature and size of your business, as well as the state in which your business is located. Below, we list the average cost of Cyber Insurance in each state, along with the difference between the state average and the national average.
|State||Average Cost of Cyber Insurance||Difference from National Average|
|District of Columbia||$1,536.00||2.28%|
Besides the location of your business, a number of other factors can greatly affect the premiums that you pay for Cyber Liability Insurance. Insurance companies will take into account the nature of your business, the number of sensitive employee and customer records you store, whether your business stores credit card and banking information on your customers, and the types of security defenses your company has undertaken. Additionally, if your company has a history of cyber insurance claims, or if it has been attacked or hacked in the past, your premiums may be higher.
In order to get an accurate estimate on pricing, it’s best to get a quote from a reputable insurance company. Below we’ve highlighted a few of our trusted partners who offer cyber policies:
|Provider||Cyber Liability||Business Interruption||Business Owner's Policy||Commercial Crime||General Liability|
Reducing the Risks of Cyber Liability Claims
Cyber Liability Insurance should be your last line of defense against hacking, viruses, and data breaches. It is best to be proactive and take precautionary steps to reduce your exposure to cyber liability.
After a data breach, customers or clients may be less interested in doing business with you in the future.
Some ideas for reducing your cyber liability exposure include:
- Install all the latest software and security updates.
- Hiring an IT security consultant to audit your systems and create a security plan.
- Backing up your company data on a regular basis and storing it in the cloud or offsite.
- Limiting access to sensitive information by employees using passwords for electronic data and physical locks for physical files.
- Using network security software and firewalls, including the use of virtual private network (VPN) software.
- Training employees on the importance of keeping customer and partner data confidential.
As the economy relies more and more on digital systems, software, and the internet, businesses will increasingly be more exposed to cyber risk. From retailers that operate online e-commerce stores to restaurants that take online orders, businesses of all types need take steps to safeguard their data and protect their businesses from the financial consequences of a data breach or hack. Cyber Liability Insurance can provide coverage for both first-party and third-party liability losses if your business is the victim of a cyberattack.