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Liablility Insurance 101

Liability insurance, also known as commercial insurance or third-party insurance, protects you in the event you are sued (by a third party) for claims that arise due to normal business operations. If you are a small business owner, there are many reasons why you should learn more about what commercial insurance means to you.

Hiscox offers general liability and professional liability (also known as errors and omission) insurance. The insurance coverage you choose depends upon the details of your business. Some people choose professional liability insurance, some choose general liability insurance and many select both.

Business Owners Policy (BOP) can be added in addition to general liability and professional liability insurance as added protection for a business's property.

General Liability Insurance

General liability insurance, also known as commercial general liability (CGL), protects your business from another person or business's claims of bodily injury, associated medical costs and damage to property. Some examples of what could be covered are below:

  • Bodily injury: A personal trainer is working with a client in their home. The client trips over the trainer’s gym bag and falls, breaking their wrist. The trainer’s general liability insurance policy could cover the client’s medical costs, including any lost wages, that result from the injury.
  • Property damage and data loss: An IT consultant is working in a client’s office when they spill coffee on the server. The machine is damaged beyond repair and valuable data is lost. The consultant’s general liability insurance policy could cover the cost to replace the server and recover the data.
  • Personal injury: A business consultant is overheard talking about a client in a false and unflattering way. The client finds out about the conversation and sues for slander. The consultant’s general liability policy could cover defense costs as well as any settlement or judgement.

Learn more about general liability insurance.

Professional Liability Insurance

Professional liability insurance, sometimes called errors and omissions insurance (E&O insurance), is coverage for another person's claims against businesses that provide professional and personal services. Some examples of what could be covered are below:

  • Dissatisfied client: A business consultant advises a client to change several internal processes to increase productivity. The recommendations are not implemented as specified, and productivity drops by 15% rather than improving, and the client sues the consultant. A professional liability policy could protect the consultant, even if no mistake was made.
  • Negligence: A human resources consultant is hired to update a company’s employment practices. Six months later, the client calls to say a part-time employee is suing the company because a key provision for the number of hours part-timers can work was omitted from the employee manual. The client makes a claim against the consultant, contending they were responsible for the mistake. The consultant’s professional liability policy could protect them, including defense costs.

Learn more about professional liability insurance.

Business Owners Policy (BOP)

BOP insurance is often used to provide balanced coverage for small businesses who also want to protect their own business equipment. Some examples of what could be covered are below:

  • Office insurance for fire and business interruption.
  • Electronic data loss insurance.
  • Hired or non-owned vehicle liability insurance.
  • Commercial crime insurance to cover the dishonesty of your employees.

Learn more about business owners policy.

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