General Liability Insurance FAQs

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Monday – Friday, 7am – 10pm ET
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At Hiscox, we know business insurance can be a complex subject. Below, we’ve compiled answers to some common questions people frequently ask about general liability insurance.

What is general liability insurance?

General Liability (GL) insurance, sometimes called small business insurance or commercial liability insurance, provides insurance coverage for your business against claims made by others including bodily injury, damage to property, or personal injury.

If someone comes to your place of business and is injured, a general liability policy could cover their medical costs. If someone else’s property is damaged and you are found to be responsible, the repair or replacement cost could be covered. And if someone’s reputation is damaged by something you or an employee said or wrote about them, the associated costs could be covered.

What is commercial general liability insurance?

Commercial general liability (CGL), also known as general liability insurance, is a business insurance policy that provides coverage for personal injury, bodily injury and property damage to third-parties sustained as a result of business operations, products or services. It also covers injuries that occur on the business's property. While considered to be a comprehensive insurance policy, it does not cover 100% of the risks that a business may encounter during its lifespan. Many companies choose to purchase additional insurance, such as that which protects against employment practice liabilities like discrimination and wrongful termination.

What does general liability insurance cover?

General liability covers property damage, claims of bodily injury and any associated medical costs, as well as electronic data liability and damage sustained to a third-party property. Libel and slander are commonly covered as well. If your business is sued, you can use general liability insurance to cover legal fees and settlements. Advertising injury, attorney fees, court costs and administration fees typically fall under general liability insurance, too.

All coverage types: 

●    Bodily injury 
●    Damage to third party property 
●    Personal injury 
●    Advertising injury 
●    Electronic data liability - dependent on industry
●    Medical expenses 
●    Defense costs 
●    Actions of your full-time employees and temporary staff 
●    Supplemental payments

Does general liability insurance cover theft?

It is a common misconception that general liability insurance covers theft of one’s own business property. Liability insurance typically covers only third party losses for which your business may bear some form of negligence. Since theft is considered a first party loss, general liability coverage does not extend to the theft of your own business property.

Is general liability insurance available in my state?

We currently offer our insurance products in many states across the U.S. – view our general liability insurance state page for details.

Not in your state? Even if we don’t currently offer our products direct and online in your state, we can still help. We have access to insurance broker specialists across the U.S. who may be able to assist you. Contact one of our licensed advisors at 1-866-283-7545 (Monday – Friday, 7am – 10pm ET) today.

How much does general liability insurance cost?

While costs for general liability insurance vary, most small businesses pay approximately $30 per month or less. Only 1% of businesses incur coverage costs of $1,000 or more per month. Factors that can influence pricing for general liability insurance include the size, industry and location of a business; the selected limits also impact overall costs. Employing strong risk management strategies can help to reduce the cost of general liability insurance, as can having a home-based business or purchasing additional insurance products.

Also, if your business actively manages its risk, then it is the type of business we like to reward with rate reductions. We’ll ask you about this during the quote-and-buy process.

We will also offer up to a 5% rate reduction if you buy two or more Hiscox insurance products from us.

How do I calculate a general liability insurance premium?

There are several factors that can influence the cost of a general liability insurance premium, many of which relate to the likelihood that a claim might be made. These factors include business size, location and industry, as well as things like turnover and what coverage you’ve opted to include or not to include in your policy. Insurance premiums also depend on the type of work your business conducts, which is why it's essential to work with a team like ours to get an accurate and tailored general liability insurance quote.

Is general liability insurance required by law?

In order to operate legally, there are a few types of insurances that businesses must have, including vehicle insurance (for businesses with company vehicles) and, in some states, workers compensation. However, it is not required by law that a business purchase general liability insurance. That said, general liability is highly recommended for all businesses. Should litigation occur, attorney fees and court costs can be inexplicably high—general liability insurance can cover your business against these and other financial burdens. 

What is an additional insured on general liability insurance?

An additional insured is any additional person or company that is added to the business’s general liability insurance policy. They are named on the certificate and must be different from the policyholder. While individuals are often named as additional insured, groups may also qualify for this title. The additional insured's coverage is usually not as extensive as that of the policy holder. However, significant protection such as defense coverage and coverage for third-party lawsuits usually applies to additionally insured entities. Coverage for additional groups or individuals runs for as long as the additional insured is performing services for the policyholder.

Can I get general liability insurance today?

Yes. We know many clients will ask you to have a minimum level of general liability insurance coverage before they’ll even begin a business relationship with you. Typically, they’ll want to have proof you have $1 million of general liability in place. That may mean you need it now. We can do that.

Hiscox can provide this for you direct and online, or you can call one of our licensed advisors at 1-866-283-7545 (Monday – Friday, 7am – 10pm ET). Once the application process is completed, your policy will be issued via email. You’ll receive your certificate of insurance in the welcome documents, which you can then email to your client as proof of insurance.

What payment options exist for my general liability policy?

Several. Hiscox offers a range of payment options, including debit and credit cards (Visa, MasterCard and American Express). You may also choose to pay the full amount in one lump sum each year or to pay monthly (with no additional fees) over time.

What general liability coverage limits do you offer?

We offer a wide range of general liability limits starting from $300,000 to $2,000,000. Clients often ask for a minimum of $1 million of coverage, but this can vary depending on the size of the organization and project you are working on. If you need more coverage or you’re not sure what limit is right for your business, call one of our licensed advisors at 1-866-283-7545 (Monday – Friday, 7am – 10pm ET) we’ll help guide you according to your specific business needs.

What deductible options do you offer?

There is no deductible with our general liability insurance policy. You can quickly get a general liability insurance quote online and select different deductible amounts to see how they affect your premium, or call one of our licensed advisors at 1-866-283-7545 (Monday – Friday, 7am – 10pm ET).

What should I do if I need to make a general liability claim?

Call us. It doesn’t matter what time or day it is, you can report a covered claim 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All you need to do is call us now at 1-866-283-7545. We’ll assign a dedicated claims representative to you. If necessary, we’ll appoint a lawyer on your behalf.

Visit our small business insurance claims page for more information.

Hiscox Customer Reviews

Hiscox rated 4.8/5
Rated 4.8/5

Sandra, Virginia
"Hiscox makes the process easy! I had a potential new contract that bizarrely, required commercial general liability, despite me being a 1-person company, working in a secure home office, on a computer. I called 4 companies, recommended by colleagues. Hiscox was easiest to work with; the woman I got when I called, took all my information, made recommendations to suit my situation, so I signed up. The other insurance companies required me to complete long forms, with many (irrelevant to my situation) questions, then called me between a week and 2 weeks later, with policy estimates that were much more expensive and clearly intended to insure larger complex companies. "


Dee Taylor-Jolley, Washington, DC
"Easy to work with.
Easy to work with. Business finance options were clear."


Alan, Maryland
"Hiscox makes it easy to independently evaluate their services and just as easy to follow up and close the deal. I found their information clear and to the point and easy to follow up on."


Toni Farina, Horsham, PA
"Easy transaction from start to finish. Smooth easy transaction.  I would recommend Hiscox Insurance to others."


Mary, New Jersey
"Educated professional service.
Very prompt knowledgeable service."


Kristian, New York, NY
"Technology Policy, Great. Agent had clear knowledge of policy and my needs. Answered my questions and gave me advise."


John R., Connecticut
"Simple, straightforward, and efficient.
There was no wasted time on the phone and the representative was able to answer questions fully. Great value for coverages provided."


See More Reviews

This information is provided to assist you in understanding the coverage we offer and does not modify the terms and conditions of any insurance policy, nor does it imply that any claim is covered. Coverages are subject to underwriting and may not be available in all states.