A Comprehensive Review of General Liability Insurance in the US (2024)

Operating a business in the US exposes you to unforeseen risks. A customer could slip and fall on your premises, a product malfunction might cause property damage, or a competitor could file a lawsuit for slanderous advertising. General liability (GL) insurance acts as a financial safety net, safeguarding your business from these potential liabilities.

What is General Liability Insurance?

General liability insurance is a cornerstone business insurance policy that protects your LLC, corporation, or sole proprietorship from third-party claims of:

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  • Bodily Injury: Covers medical expenses and lost wages if someone sues your business for bodily injury sustained on your property or due to your operations (e.g., customer slips and falls, product defect injures someone).
  • Property Damage: Pays for repairs or replacements if your business activities damage the property of others (e.g., plumber accidentally floods a client’s basement).
  • Personal Injury: Protects against claims of non-physical harm, such as libel, slander, or false advertising, that damage someone’s reputation.
  • Advertising Injury: Covers lawsuits arising from copyright infringement or misleading advertising campaigns.

Key Advantages of General Liability Insurance

Having a general liability insurance policy offers several significant benefits:

  • Financial Protection: It shields your business assets from lawsuits that could result in expensive settlements or judgments.
  • Peace of Mind: Knowing you have coverage allows you to focus on running your business without worrying about unexpected liabilities.
  • Enhanced Credibility: Many clients and vendors require proof of general liability insurance before working with a business.

What Does General Liability Insurance NOT Cover?

It’s important to understand that GL insurance has limitations. Here are some exclusions to be aware of:

  • Intentional Acts: If you deliberately cause harm, the insurance company won’t provide coverage.
  • Professional Liability: Errors and omissions specific to your profession (e.g., an accountant’s negligence) are not covered by GL insurance.
  • Employee Injuries: Workers’ compensation insurance is a separate policy that covers work-related employee injuries.
  • Pollution: Damages caused by pollution events are typically excluded from GL coverage.

How Much Does General Liability Insurance Cost?

The cost of general liability insurance varies depending on several factors:

  • Industry: High-risk industries typically pay more (e.g., construction, landscaping).
  • Business Location: Location can influence risk factors and impact premiums.
  • Claims History: A history of claims can lead to higher premiums.
  • Coverage Limits: The higher the coverage limits (maximum amount the insurer pays), the more expensive the policy.

Obtaining General Liability Insurance

There are several ways to acquire a general liability insurance policy:

  • Independent Insurance Agent: A knowledgeable agent can assess your business risks and recommend appropriate coverage options.
  • Online Quote Comparison Tools: These platforms allow you to get quotes from multiple insurers efficiently. However, they may not cover all providers.
  • Directly from Insurance Companies: Many insurance companies offer general liability insurance on their websites.

Additional Considerations for General Liability Insurance

Here are some final points to consider:

  • Coverage Limits: Carefully evaluate your risk profile and choose coverage limits that provide adequate protection.
  • Endorsements (Riders): These add-ons can expand your coverage to include specific risks not covered by the standard policy.
  • Bundling: Bundling general liability insurance with other business insurance policies (e.g., property insurance) can often lead to cost savings.
  • Regular Review: As your business evolves, revisit your general liability insurance policy regularly to ensure it remains sufficient.


General liability insurance is an essential investment for businesses of all sizes in the US. By understanding the coverage it provides, its limitations, and how to obtain the right policy, you can safeguard your company’s financial future and operate with greater peace.

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