Comprehensive General Liability Insurance
Comprehensive general liability insurance is the blanket protection many business owners are seeking when they consider all the lawsuits that could be filed against them for neglect. Of course, no one can control all the elements that go into daily life, so the enterprise owner will look at getting as much coverage as possible for the least amount of money and hope the policy is adequate. The problem is that the cheaper the premium, usually the less indemnity protection allotted the insured. But a bargain once in a while can be found, so one seeking such coverage needs to shop around and look at many companies' offerings. Understanding comprehensive general liability insurance and its limitations can help a business owner decide how much coverage he might need.
Negligence is the prevailing factor in lawsuits filed for personal injury, bodily injury, property damage and injury from advertisement. Plaintiffs in civil trials must prove that defendants were negligent, creating circumstances in which harm, injury, mental suffering or monetary loss occurred. Comprehensive general liability insurance covers four areas of liability for businesses. The first is personal injury, which covers libel, slander, infringement of privacy as well as false arrest. The second area is bodily injury, which covers injury to customers and clients while on the premises. The third area is property damage, covering losses to customer possessions and property, and the fourth is damage from advertisement. This is somewhat related to personal injury covering libel and slander but also covers copyright infringement.
Personal injury protection may be appreciated more by companies that deal directly with the public in high stress circumstances. Companies offering security for all kinds of businesses such as movie theaters, department and retail stores and sports events come to mind. Companies that hire writers or public speakers may also desire the protection from slander and libel lawsuits. Marketing and ad agencies will want the protection that their comprehensive general liability insurance coverage gives them from advertising injury claims. Of course, the bodily injury claim will be of help at all, businesses where a slip and fall lawsuit could come at any time and where negligence may be difficult to disprove.
The small business owner, in signing a policy of this blanket type of policy needs to remember that in some cases, that policy may be a twin size blanket when he needs queen sized coverage. The cost of comprehensive general liability insurance is based on coverage limits and deductibles as well as business location, condition of the property and other individual details. If a small business owner gets an indemnity policy with a very high deductible for a lower premium cost, the issue arises about him having enough to cover that deductible should the unthinkable occur and is there enough coverage per incident to keep from losing the business. For the person who is living without a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, there is the question from Jesus himself: "What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Mark 8:36, 37)
Any small business that hosts customers on its premises, or conducts business where promises are made for delivery should have comprehensive general liability insurance. And many companies who make contracts to finish work but always face the possibility of not being able to do so need to be bonded. Bonding is a financial surety that work will be completed even if the original company is unable to do so. But the liability issues do not end for many businesses that have seemingly blanket protection. Highly specialized businesses also need more than blanket protection for their businesses.
Physicians need that comprehensive general liability insurance for slips and falls in their waiting rooms. But they also require specialized indemnity coverage for specific medical practice lawsuits. Lawyers, architects, accountants and other specialized professionals also require malpractice insurance in addition to the general liability coverage. Owners of auto repair centers and dealerships need specialized insurance called garage insurance and garage keepers insurance that specifically addresses issues that arise because of ownership in this specialized field of business. Any commerce enterprise that offers a single type of service or product needs to make sure that a general policy is enough to cover certain circumstances especially prevalent in its field of endeavor. Professionals are highly susceptible to civil lawsuits and must recognize this high legal exposure by maintaining such expensive policies to protect their businesses and livelihoods.
Many physicians have gotten out of medical practice because the high cost of malpractice insurance has become prohibitive. Were it just a case of needing comprehensive general liability insurance like most retail businesses require, professionals could write the premiums comfortably into their yearly expenses. But the advertisements of attorneys across the country promoting and encouraging lawsuits for high dollar amounts has forced small business and professional offices into a protectionist mode requiring blanket and specialized policy coverage. Consumers have developed an aggressive attitude towards service and product providers, sometimes making provocative and seemingly unreasonable demands of protection from businesses. In many cases, a business must, through economic necessity choose very high deductibles in order to even afford coverage at all. These high deductibles can still threaten the life of many small commerce operations when owners have to find the capital to cover them in the event of a lawsuit. Comparison shopping and even talking to a liability attorney can be very helpful in relieving anxiety about one's exposure to lawsuits and their costs.
Contractor Liability InsuranceContractor liability insurance is the financial protection that building contractors everywhere need in the face of a million different things going wrong on a small or large job. And in the reality of a society that has gone litigiously "sue happy" in the past twenty years, this indemnity protection isn't just a luxury but a flat out necessity. In fact, contractor liability insurance is required for most major projects by the lending corporations funding the efforts. But whether a person is a cabinet installer, remodeler or major general contractor liability insurance is one of the ways to keep from worrying each day about that inevitable accident. So what does make you worry? Jesus said, "Therefore I say unto you, take not thought for your life, what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink: nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not life more than meat and the body than raiment? But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:25, 34)
One of the new liability issues that contractors face today is the specter of creating pollution hazards contrary to EPA or local regulations. Since the heart and soul of liability suits lay in the concept of negligence, it is the deliberate or even accidental overlooking of proper disposal methods that may later come back to haunt a contractor. Accidentally hitting an underground pipeline filled with gas or oil can be an extremely costly accident and environmentally dangerous. The expense of cleaning up such an event can be astronomical but contractor liability insurance can help mitigate, at least to some extent, the cost. When a contractor has a general liability policy, it may or may not cover such environment related issues, so special care should be taken when seeking covering from a carrier to make sure this scenario is addressed.
For the very small contractor, general, "one size fits all" contractor liability insurance coverage is standard fare. HVAC, drywall, painting, wall paper hanging, electrical, carpentry and other construction fields can all be covered under a general policy. The deductibles and ceiling amounts will vary from company to company and will also depend on how much coverage the contractor actually wants to have. Much of the issue surrounding whether or not a contractor can even get coverage is how much control he has over those working for him. Very small one or two person companies can receive a more favorable rate than those with more employees, all due to the control and accountability factor.
Many contractor liability insurance policies cover damage that happens up to ten years after the installation occurred. For example, nine years and eleven months after a water main was installed, it explodes causing a basement to flood and a foundation to crumble. Under many policies, a contractor would have liability coverage to stave off major expense. But nothing should be taken for granted and one's agent should be consulted for full coverage information. There are some things of which to be aware when purchasing indemnity protection however.
Since cost of insurance is a number priority for most contractors, shopping around for available carriers and their prices will provide a wide range of possible costs. The problem will come in comparing the same coverage. Deductibles for some contractor liability insurance policies may be quite high, lowering premiums, while other may not have as high a per incident allowable ceiling as another. And some policies may include some clauses to drive down costs that insurance experts warn will come back and bite many contractors right in the rear pocket later on. For example the inclusion of a sunset clause, which says the insurer will only pay for losses before a future predetermined date, limits the policy issuer's exposure to a long term liability problem such as the one mentioned in the previous paragraph.
The other provision in a liability insurance policy that must be avoided is a manifestation provision in the policy. Suppose a plumber takes out an indemnity policy for a very low price and does a job on a number of houses but then gets very sick and must end his business in order to concentrate on getting well. The contractor liability insurance policy lapses and nothing else is thought of until five years later some plumbing parts used in these houses were proven to be defective and began failing, causing plumbing set in concrete pads in those various houses to begin leaking. The cost for repair is going to be enormous, but the presence of a manifestation clause means the problem would have to have manifested itself during the time the policy was in force. The poor plumber not only has to beat cancer but now must pay tens of thousands of dollars for repairing these houses he had worked on years before.
There is a reason some insurance is cheaper than others and it is not always a bargain. A contractor, big or small must figure that something that can go wrong will eventually do so and it is better to have paid a little more for better coverage than to rue the day one ever became a roofer or drywaller or...., you get the picture. If you aren't sure about certain provisions in your liability insurance, have an attorney check it out. It will be worth the peace of mind to know one's coverage will be helpful and not an obstacle to business growth. And remember your family can be grossly affected by all this if you don't do the right thing.