What are Some Common General Liability Insurance Claims?

May 13, 2024 | General Liability

This article was originally published July 22, 2021

If you own a small business, you know you face business risks and may wonder, “What are some common general liability insurance claims?” That’s an important question, as the answer can help you understand whether you need general liability insurance (most businesses do) and if so, how much.

Clothing designer checking inventory

What is Commercial General Liability Insurance?

Commercial general liability insurance is a type of coverage that protects your business from the potentially serious financial repercussions associated with many types of liability. This includes:

  • Damage your business causes to the property of customers or others
  • Bodily injury to non-employees
  • Product liability if a product you’ve developed or sold harms someone or damages their property
  • Libel, slander, or copyright infringement, including things like “advertising injuries” where you say disparaging things about a competitor in your ads

Having the right amount of coverage (and potentially an umbrella insurance policy to extend that coverage) is essential when it comes to protecting your business.

General Liability Insurance Coverage: Common Scenarios

General liability insurance coverage is helpful in a wide variety of instances. For example, it may provide coverage in scenarios like these:

Customer slip-and-fall or trip-and-fall incidents

It doesn’t take much moisture for flooring inside your business or the sidewalk or stairs leading into your building to become slick. If a customer slips, falls, hits their head, and suffers a concussion, it’s possible that they’ll sue you. Imagine that the cost of their medical bills and wages lost while they recover is $200,000. You don’t want to have to pay that amount. 

Similarly, if a client trips over ripples in a rug that isn’t properly flattened and secured and breaks their back, you may be facing financial consequences that could easily top $1 million. General liability insurance may pay for medical expenses, lawsuit damages, and court costs related to these types of incidents. 

Customer property damage

Your employee is doing some work at a customer’s home and has to move their refrigerator to access plumbing or an electrical outlet. In doing so, they lose control of the refrigerator and it tips and crashes down onto a granite countertop and sink, causing significant damage. 

The customer sues you for the cost to repair the damage and to replace the now-inoperable refrigerator—a total of $25,000. Your general liability policy may cover these costs, meaning they don’t become out-of-pocket expenses for your business. 


A competitor has evidence that you’ve made false statements to people about them and, as a result, you’ve harmed their reputation and they’ve lost business. They sue you for $500,000 and the court finds you liable for that amount. Plus you’re ordered to pay court costs and legal fees. Commercial general liability insurance may protect your business by paying some or all of the total costs related to the lawsuit.

Product liability

Your business resells novelty coffee mugs. One of your shipments includes flawed mugs, and a customer is injured when the handle breaks off theirs, spilling hot coffee into their lap and causing them to lose control of their car and hit a street light. They sue you for the cost of their medical care and repairs to their vehicle. The suit also demands payment for the cost of the street light, since the city is requiring them to replace it. 

These are just a few of countless business liability scenarios your business could face. And, unfortunately, without general liability insurance, just one lawsuit can become a financial burden that a small business can’t bear.

Can General Liability Insurance Coverage be Customized?

General liability insurance coverage is fairly broad. However, you can customize your policy with many different types of add-ons as needed. This can include what are called "endorsements" for:

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    Cyber liability. This add-on insurance protects you in the event of an incident like a data breach regarding private customer, employee, or client information. It can also provide coverage for regulatory action defense if a government agency requires you to appear in court.
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    Hired and non-owned auto liability. This coverage provides protection when you or an employee of your business is driving a rented, leased, hired, or borrowed vehicle for business purposes. A common example is an employee who makes deliveries using their own vehicle. Adding this endorsement to a general liability policy or business owners policy (BOP) means you don’t need a separate commercial auto policy for this purpose.
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    Employment-related practices liability. This endorsement protects your business in case of a claim or lawsuit related to inappropriate workplace behavior (e.g., wrongful termination, harassment, or discrimination).
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    Employee benefits liability. This add-on provides coverage in the event of errors or omissions in how you administer your employee benefits program. For example, it can protect you if you fail to add an employee to your medical insurance and the person is later denied coverage by the plan.
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    Contractors installation, tools & equipment. This insurance covers your business property, tools, equipment, etc. while at a job site, in transit, temporarily in storage, or during installation.
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    Liquor liability. This add-on covers liability your business may incur from the selling, serving, or furnishing of alcoholic beverages.

Getting General Liability Insurance and Reporting Claims Should be Easy

At biBERK, we simplify business insurance so owners can focus on growing their business. Getting a general liability insurance quote takes just minutes online. All you have to do is provide a little information about your company, and we tell you what your coverage will cost. If you choose to purchase a general liability policy from us, you can do that online as well.

Just as importantly, you can report a claim quickly and efficiently on our website. No need to find time to connect with a representative. But, of course, if you have any questions about getting a quote, buying a policy, or reporting a claim, our licensed insurance experts are always happy to help you. 

And, business owners rest easier knowing that their general liability insurance is from biBERK, a company that’s part of Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Insurance Group with millions of satisfied customers, more than 75 years of insurance experience, and $38 billion in paid claims in 2020. We also use a direct-to-you sales model, with no broker or middleman. That means you can save up to 20% over other insurance providers. 

So, whether you encounter one of the common general liability insurance claims described above or something completely unique, you can face the situation confident that you’ve got solid coverage at an affordable price and backed by an industry leader.