General Liability Insurance protects your financial services business from third-party injury or damage.
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In any business, accidents can happen. If a client, partner, or other third party suffers injury or property damage while working with your company, you may be held liable for damages. General Liability Insurance is intended to protect your business from these unexpected risks.
What is General Liability Insurance?
General Liability Insurance, or Commercial General Liability, protects your financial services business from lawsuits claiming property damage, bodily injury, or personal injury caused by your business or your employees. Your business may already have professional liability insurance, which covers you for negligence related to the financial services or advice you provide for your clients, but without General Liability Insurance, your business still faces legal liability in terms of injury or damage to property.
Who needs General Liability Insurance?
General Liability Insurance is one of the most common types of insurance that businesses purchase. From small to large financial services businesses, General Liability Insurance is considered an essential coverage. Though it is generally not required by law, it would be unwise to operate your financial services business without it.
Some customers are unwilling to do business with companies lacking General Liability Insurance coverage. Additionally, if you rent office space, your landlord may require you to carry this insurance as a condition of your lease. Even if your state does not mandate insurance, operating without it leaves your financial services business open to serious financial damages if an accident were to occur.
What does General Liability Insurance cover?
General Liability Insurance covers three distinct categories of liability:
- Property damage
- Bodily injury
- Personal and advertising injury
General Liability Insurance will cover costs if your business unintentionally damages someone else’s property. However, this insurance does not cover damages to your business’s own property. For that, you will need commercial property insurance.
- One of your employees meets a client at their home for a meeting and knocks over an expensive antique vase. This would be covered under the property damage component of General Liability Insurance. Your business would be covered for the cost of repairing or replacing the vase.
Bodily injury is covered when a non-employee suffers physical harm while on your property or as a result of your business’ activity.
- A client visits your office for a scheduled meeting to discuss his financial assets. As he leaves, he trips on the front steps and breaks his leg. The client sues your company for medical expenses. General Liability Insurance covers these damages if your company is held liable. These costs can include lost income from being unable to work, medical costs, payment for pain and suffering, or funeral expenses.
Personal and Advertising Injury
Coverage for personal and advertising injury protects your financial services business when you cause specific types of non-physical injury to another person or business’s reputation. This covers intentional acts that can have unintended consequences. Coverage includes false arrest, malicious prosecution, wrongful entry, wrongful eviction, publications that violate personal privacy, libel, slander, and copyright infringement.
- Your tax preparation business mistakenly publishes a piece of libelous information about a competing business on social media, believing it to be true. Your General Liability Insurance would cover any resulting lawsuit.
No business owner wants to face the possibility of a lawsuit, but lawsuits are quite common. If a client files a lawsuit for a reason covered by your General Liability Policy, your insurance company will cover your legal fees. This includes attorney fees, witness fees, and general court costs. Whether your company is at fault is irrelevant; your costs will qualify for coverage. Under most insurance policies, legal fees do not count against your coverage limits.
What is excluded from General Liability Insurance coverage?
General Liability Insurance policies have several common exclusions that you should note. Your business property is generally excluded from these policies. This is because liability insurance covers damage to other people’s property only. Any liability that arises out of your practice as a financial professional is also excluded, as they can be covered by a professional liability policy. Other acts that are not covered by general liability insurance include:
- Intentional damages
- Liability resulting from intentional lawbreaking
- Professional errors
- Employee injuries
- Employee discrimination lawsuits
- Vehicles used for business purposes
How much General Liability Insurance do I need?
General Liability Insurance usually does not have a deductible. This means your business will be covered by the insurance company for the entire cost of a judgment or settlement up to the limits of insurance.
Every General Liability Insurance policy will outline a limit of insurance, which you can choose. The limit of insurance is the greatest amount your insurer will pay for claims against your business. Normally, the limit of insurance is broken down into per year and per occurrence limits.
Per year limits are the maximum amount insurers will pay in damages for a policy year. Per occurrence limits are the maximum insurers will pay for a single claim. Generally, the higher the limits of insurance, the higher your insurance premiums will be.
For most small businesses, a $1 million per occurrence and $2 million aggregate limit for General Liability Insurance is appropriate.
Pricing and Quotes
AdvisorSmith found the average cost of General Liability Insurance for financial services businesses was $390 per year. This average cost was based on financial services businesses with up to $500K in revenue for coverage of $1 million per occurrence and $2 million in aggregate.
Pricing for General Liability Insurance is based upon the unique risks your business faces. Insurers consider factors such as:
- Business size
- Number of employees
- Claims history
Businesses with higher risks will have higher premiums than those deemed lower risk. For example, a financial advisory business with a history of multiple claims will probably have higher liability premiums than one with relatively few past claims. Premiums also rise as you increase the limits of insurance. Different insurance companies have different models for rating risks, so it is worth comparing pricing across different insurers.
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 General Liability Insurance:
|Provider||General Liability||Business Owner's Policy||Product Liability||Professional Liability|
As someone who is well versed in the world of finance, you know that proper planning is crucial to the viability of any business. If something were to happen, whether it be a client injuring themselves on your business property or a libel lawsuit levied against your company, it’s crucial for your business to be prepared. The costs of defending against a lawsuit, even if you win, can be financially crippling. Securing adequate General Liability Insurance coverage can help protect you from these risks and ensure that your business can continue on solid financial footing.