General Liability Coverage


General liability covers accidents occurring on your premises. For this reason, it is sometimes also called Premises Liability. It includes Bodily Injury, Personal and Advertising Injury, and Medical Expenses. It can also include your products for on-premises consumption, as well as Bodily Injury/Property Damage for valet parking services if you offer them. The most common claims that usually fall under general liability are slip/trip and falls, food poisoning or foreign items in food or drinks, and fights and scuffles. Other claims protected by general liability are libel, slander and false arrest.


Some of the underwriting considerations used when pricing and evaluating your general liability exposures are:


  • Housekeeping. Are floors clean and well-maintained? Is trash kept in the receptacle and removed when full or is it overflowing onto the floor or swept into one are for later removal?

  • Percentage of liquor sales compared to food sales percentage. When liquor receipts start being 35% of the total receipts or more, it usually raises additional underwriting questions. An underwriter will want to know if there is entertainment, what type, happy hours, security or bouncers and what kind of alcohol training are employees given.

  • How many years of management experience does the owner have? New startups should have experience in the field and could be asked to provide a resume to insurers. Some companies will not write a new venture with no experienced personnel on the management team.

  • Is there any catering? If so, how much and what is catered (just food or liquor as well)?

  • What is the claims history like?


Some Endorsements Available


Employee Benefits Liability: if you offer your employees a benefit program such as health insurance or retirement savings, and make an error or omission administering such a program, the employee could attempt to sue you for your mistake. This endorsement would protect you from such an occurrence.


Employment Practices Liability: EPL coverage provides protection from employees and prospective employee lawsuits such as sexual harassment, wrongful termination, discrimination and other acts in your capacity as an employer. When underwriting and pricing this coverage, underwriters need to know information about your workforce, such as:


  • When was your employee handbook last updated? You will need a handbook to be eligible for this coverage.

  • What is your employee turnover history?

  • Do you have a sexual harassment complaint policy? You should have a complaint and resolution policy in place even if you do not purchase this coverage.

  • Questions regarding performance evaluation, job descriptions, "at-will" wording on applications and termination procedures must all be answered as well.

  • Past claims of this nature will be closely scrutinized and all details must be disclosed.


Hired and Non-Owned Auto Liability: If your operation has delivery, and your employees are traveling in their own vehicles on behalf of your business (including just running errands), your business will likely be named in a lawsuit in the event of an accident. Most personal automobile policies exclude using personal vehicles for business operations, especially delivery, so this endorsement could help defend you from being sued by an injured third party, as well as your employee if their coverage is inadequate. The protection is usually fairly inexpensive, but an underwriter will want to know additional information such as:


  • Age and driving records of all drivers, including number of years licensed.

  • Radius of operations.

  • Specific use of the vehicles (delivery, catering, errands...)

  • Past claims.