What Ever Happened To Comprehensive General Liability Insurance?

What Ever Happened To Comprehensive General Liability Insurance?
If you were in business back in the 80’s or earlier, or even if you just grew up back then, you may have heard of “comprehensive general liability insurance.” But if you go to look for a policy by that name today, for your business, you won’t be able to find it. Why?
In 1986, the insurance agency switched over to a new name for the exact same type of insurance policy: “commercial general liability insurance.” But what was the cause of this decades-old name change?

The Replacement Of “Comprehensive” With “Commercial”
The truth is, general liability insurance was always commercial and was never truly “comprehensive.” Now, it’s true that comprehensive auto or any other type of comprehensive insurance will also still have some exclusions, but general liability was always meant to be a sort of catch-all policy that filled in coverage gaps not taken care of by other types of commercial insurance policies.

Thus, a situation might arise in the 80’s where a company employee in a company car got into a fender-bender accident, and the business owner might falsely assume that it’s covered by the comprehensive general liability policy. Instead, a commercial auto policy would be needed to cover that.

And most general liability policies won’t cover the errors and omissions and other things under the professional liability insurance umbrella. Plus, general liability complements rather than duplicates what workers’ comp covers.

And there are yet other, less common, types of policies too, like pollution insurance, liquor insurance, and directors/officers liability insurance that aren’t part of general liability. In fact, no insurance policy on the planet is comprehensive in the absolute sense, because it would cost-prohibitive for any insurer to provide that kind of coverage.

What Is And Is Not Covered By General Liability Insurance?
Despite the name-change, the coverage areas of general liability have remained about the same since 1986.

The main value of general liability is the protection it provides against bodily injury to non-workers (usually customers) while on your business property, against accidental damage to customers’ property, and against lawsuits over copyright or reputational damage issues.

Basically, you get help with legal expenses to defend yourself and help in paying any settlements or judgments you might be forced to pay.

But what won’t general liability cover you for? Policies differ, and you may be able to customize yours up to a point, but contract disputes, professional mistakes, pollution lawsuits, auto accidents, and injury to your own workers will be always or usually excluded. And, as mentioned, above, these things can be covered by other types of insurance.

Why Have a Commercial General Liability Policy?
It’s true that different business-types need different types of insurance, but general liability is a bit of an exception. It is such a basic kind of coverage that almost every business does well to carry it.

Why? Because a slip and fall accident or an accident where a customer’s valuable property is damaged could easily hurt your business in a big way. It could even put small businesses completely out of business.

A commercial general liability policy is normally the first line of defense for businesses facing a lawsuit, though of course it would depend on what kind of lawsuit it was.

Thus, whatever name you want to call it by, general liability coverage is an essential business tool.

To learn more about general liability cover, contact Flagler County Insurance Agency today!