General Liability vs Professional Liability Insurance

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Contributor, Benzinga
February 7, 2022

When you want coverage against overall business risk, consider general liability insurance. An overwhelming number of options are available, and Benzinga has narrowed the selection for you to create a list of prospective general liability insurance companies that meet your needs.

What is General Liability Insurance?

General liability insurance is coverage that protects against any claims you and your company could be found liable for directly. Coverage is available for bodily injury or property damage that occurs on business property or results from a product.

The type of business you own or run has little to do with a need for general liability insurance. While it protects against bodily injury and property damage, it is also referred to as business liability insurance. More specifically, these policies provide coverage for the following expenses that are associated with risks:

  • Medical expenses
  • Legal fees
  • Advertising injury
  • Damage to your premises

General liability insurance does not cover:

  • Car accidents
  • Quality of workmanship
  • Punitive damages
  • Employee injuries
  • Professional errors
  • Intentional damage

General liability insurance costs vary depending on the policy you select and where you live. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the average cost of general liability insurance is less than $800 per year — less than 15% of small companies pay more than $1,000 per year.

Discounts are available for multiple policies. Don’t hesitate to ask if there are discount or bundling options for you and your business before you purchase.

Contractors and other small business owners need to protect themselves and their assets by investing in general liability coverage. Everyone should be aware that it only takes one incident to result in a lawsuit that could further damage what has taken you so long to build.

Whatever type of business you run, you need protection. In most cases, you will also find that many clients and managers want you to carry a particular amount of protection.

Buying insurance requires you to understand the difference between the two policies:  claims made and occurrences. With claims made, only a specified period is covered. Occurrence insurance doesn’t necessarily cover claim events before the policy is in effect.

Visit Benzinga’s website to learn more and receive a quote.

What is Professional Liability Insurance?

The concept of professional liability insurance — also known as errors and omissions insurance or E&O insurance — is to provide coverage for professionals and companies against negligence claims from both clients and customers. While this form of insurance usually covers negligence, copyright infringement and personal injury, it also includes damages that may have been caused by actions you should and should not have done.

Unlike general liability insurance, professional liability insurance focuses more on coverage against negligence. Plenty of businesses that can benefit from professional liability insurance. For example, if as an employee or business owner, you accidentally forget to mention to your client about needed sign-offs that essentially cause project delays that end up increasing cost, your professional liability insurance may protect you. 

Another example could be if you are a massage therapist, and one of your clients sues you by claiming that you caused tissue damage. These are just two instances where professional liability insurance could assist you and your business. Although different from general liability insurance, it can be paired for complete coverage.

Who Needs Professional Liability Insurance?

You should consider professional liability insurance if your company provides either a professional service, regular professional advice to clients or contractual service. Any given job or contract could require professional liability insurance. It would help to ensure you and your business are protected with the proper coverage.

While every company’s needs differ, many factors can  impact how much an insurance premium will cost. The best way to determine how much you will be paying is to consult with an insurance agent for the most accurate quotes.

A more in-depth analysis of what professional liability insurance covers is detailed below.

  • Mistakes or negligence: services that are or aren’t provided by your company that could result in client damages
  • Copyright infringement: copyright laws issues, mistakes, oversights and misunderstandings
  • Personal injuries: claims for libel or slander whether true or false
  • Previously performed services: protection for current and previous work completed under an agreed-upon time frame
  • Defense costs: legal defense costs related to lawsuits against your business
  • Temporary staff and independent contractors: work performed by employees such as temporary and independent contractors

What About Umbrella Coverage?

Another term for personal liability insurance is often referred to as umbrella coverage. This form of protection seeks to fill gaps in your insurance policy. The name is appropriate in the literal and figurative sense that an umbrella insurance policy offers protection just like an umbrella to keep you dry in a storm.

Umbrella insurance has the potential to prevent an unexpected and financially devastating outcome if your actions were to cause harm to another person or entity. It extends protection against the unpredictable.

However, customers need to be aware that umbrella insurance doesn’t start until all other insurance benefits are exhausted, which means that your primary auto or homeowner’s policy, for example, will only cover damages up to the maximum amount permitted. Once you reach that point, the umbrella policy will kick in to take care of the rest.

Comparing General Liability Insurance

Refer to Benzinga for reviews on the best general liability insurance providers so you can learn more about where to invest for the proper coverage.

The best overall insurance, according to Benzinga, is The Hartford. Information on The Hartford is easy, concise and understandable. The Hartford describes how specific factors like location, policy coverage limits, terms, type of business, number of years in business, claims history and company size could affect your protection options too. Other notably worthy mentions are Liberty Mutual, Thimble, Hiscox, CAN and AIG.

Try Simply Business

Simply Business offers a comprehensive suite of business insurance that specializes in making it easy to insure your business. Whether you’re looking for construction workers' insurance or liability insurance for your startup, Simply Business even helps you find the right liability coverage at the right price. Don’t turn to a thousand different carriers when you can get help from Simply Business.

Tell Simply Business a little bit about your business and you'll get almost-instantaneous affordable quotes from top insurance providers to protect your business and safeguard yourself. You can also look into workers’ comp, business owner’s plans, additional liability insurance, commercial auto and more that will cover everyone on your team, and you can get covered in accordance with state law without overspending. 

Building your business is hard enough. Let Simply Business make it easier. Get a quote from Simply Business today.

Getting the Best Insurance Available

The best and most effective way to find insurance tailored to you is to start by getting a quote. Benzinga has gathered data on the best insurance companies in the industry for customers to consider when looking for what works for them. However, before all else, you should ensure that you have the proper documentation in hand, ready to go.

Frequently Asked Questions


Do I need both general and professional liability?


If you operate a company or business that provides certain types of service to customers and clients, purchasing both types of insurance would mean you are protected against various liability exposures that could occur.


What is meant by professional indemnity?


Professional indemnity is commercial policy insurance designed to protect business owners, freelancers and self-employed individuals if a client claims inadequate service. No company is free from the threat of a claim against it, especially if it provides a professional service or gives advice to the public.