What Is Comprehensive General Liability Insurance?

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  • Written By: Susan Abe
  • Edited By: Jessica Seminara
  • Last Modified Date: 03 September 2019
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Comprehensive general liability insurance is a type of insurance policy, usually purchased by a business or company, to protect that company against financial losses or even bankruptcy. These financial losses may occur if, or when, individuals claim personal injury, or individuals or other businesses claim property damage, occurring as the fault of that business. Comprehensive general liability insurance acts very similarly to the automobile liability insurance required by all US states. An insurance company provides a policy for a certain monetary amount for the cost of premium payments. If a claim is made against the insured, the insurance company pays those expenses if the specifics of the claim are covered and after the insured pays any deductible agreed upon at the time the policy was purchased.

Businesses purchase comprehensive general liability insurance in order to avoid bankruptcy or ruin of the business secondary to liability injury awards that exceed their ability to pay. Small businesses, in particular, usually require such protection as their assets would not be able to cover the cost of a large award. Many are hard-pressed to pay the deductible, much less the amount of the award less the cost of the policy coverage. It is for this reason that an umbrella policy is usually recommended by brokers in addition to a comprehensive general liability insurance policy. Umbrella policies begin their coverage at the limits of the comprehensive general liability insurance policy, to a policy-specified maximum amount.


The cost of a comprehensive general liability policy depends upon the size of a business and the degree of its interaction with the public. One major factor that influences premium costs includes whether or not alcohol is served by the business or on the business's premises. Not surprisingly, the presence of alcohol increases the potential for customer injuries and subsequent injury claims. Another factor that increases a policy's costs is if the business is sports-related, such as a baseball camp or a summer soccer league. As one might expect, the policy cost for a professional sports venue where patrons consume alcohol is significant due to the combination of these two cost-increasing factors.

Individuals often purchase comprehensive general liability insurance as part of their homeowner's insurance or renter's insurance policy. When a comprehensive general liability insurance policy is purchased in this manner, it may or may not protect the insured against automobile-related claims. As with businesses, there are factors that will increase the cost of such a policy to a homeowner. These sometimes include owning a dog or having a swimming pool on the property.


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Post 1

An umbrella liability policy can be a good idea for individuals as well as companies. The liability limits on your homeowner's or renter's insurance and on your car insurance just might not be enough if someone is killed or seriously injured. (According to the movie A Civil Action, permanent injury is more expensive than death, in fact.)

The umbrella policy would cover you pretty much everywhere, I think even at work (not 100% sure about that). You can then lower the liability limits on your homeowner's and auto insurance policies to help cover the cost of your umbrella policy.

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