Commercial General Insurance Policy
So you’ve finally done it – you’ve started your own business here in New Orleans, LA, have a successful product and you’re ready to take on the market. But before you venture out into the world, it’s recommended, almost mandatory, to invest in Commercial General Insurance Policies. This insurance covers your business from common liabilities, such as property damage, injury damage, or even copyright liability issues. At Hammond Law Firm, our goal is to strip away the veil and inform you of the many situations where your commercial insurance can apply.
Have you ever had a customer slip on a spill in your grocery store aisle? How about someone accusing you of using their music in one of your commercials without their permission? Commercial General Insurance is meant to provide the funds to cover the costs toward a legal defense. However, this type of coverage is purely for defensive purposes; rarely is this policy used to prosecute a person or entity who you feel has wronged you.
Protect Your Business
Let’s go back to your fictional business, complete with a brick and mortar store. You have a penchant for soaps and love to sell handmade soaps, washes, etc. One of your recent customers had a violent allergic reaction to a soap, and they are suing you for failing to label all the ingredients. In addition, they want to penalize your employee who sold them the soap, claiming that the employee knew about the allergy and sold them the soap anyway.
With Commercial General Insurance your court proceedings will be funded by the insurance provider. This includes attorney’s fees, court costs, witness fees, police report costs,, judgements, settlements, and more. If you and your lone employee need to spend a day in court to defend yourselves, the insurance policy could potentially cover the income lost that day.
Protect Your People
Similarly to how the insurance will cover your employee if a day in court is needed, this Commercial General Insurance can also envelop any person who is vital to your business. Let’s say you’ve partnered with your best friend to increase publicity for your soap business. Any partners, employees, or spouses are covered under the insurance, so long as the incident relates to your business. Your soap company has expanded to a corporation, complete with stockholders, executives, board members, etc. – well, they’re covered too if something should happen. If you take on interns or volunteers for charity events, they’re also covered for any liabilities that result from working with you.
In summary, any people who wish to be covered by your insurance in the event of lawsuit need to be associated with your business, from volunteer to executive.
Specific Types of Coverage
After going over general commercial insurance, it’s also beneficial to go over any specifics that your insurance policy covers. This coverage may vary depending on the nature of your business, and is also very situational. For example, an employee who sues your soap company because they sustained injuries from slipping on the floor, cannot be covered under commercial general insurance. For that case, it’s vital to have a worker’s compensation policy.
Let’s say your soap business is on the second floor of a mall. A pipe bursts from one of your sinks and floods the store below yours. General commercial insurance can contain property insurance, which will cover the damages done to the store below yours.
Let’s take it to the streets now. Commercial insurance coverage generally deals with incidents relating to customers or within your stores, but there are policies in place to protect you in incidents outside of your store. Let’s say you have a delivery van for your soap company. Naturally, any damage it sustains would be covered under the commercial insurance. However, your van is broken down and you’re now using your personal car for deliveries. If you get into an accident on the way to a delivery, you can be covered under the commercial insurance. However, if you were leaving your store to go visit a friend and got into an accident, the insurance will not cover you – this would be considered a personal incident, and would be passed on to your personal auto insurance.
What To Do If Insurance Denies Coverage
Any business-owner’s worst nightmare is to discover that the incident they are being sued for does not fall under any sort of insurance policy. If you’re being accused of an incident relating to your business, immediately gather the facts. The longer you wait to gather evidence, the less evidence you may have in the end for your defense. Did someone slip in the aisle? Take a picture of the spill before it’s mopped up or search for video evidence of the incident for verification. Are you being accused of lying about an aspect of your product? Gather any and all material relating to that product, including visual ads, commercials, product reviews, etc.
Contact Us for Insurance Litigation Experience
There are many other situational incidents that can or cannot be covered by your commercial general insurance policy. It’s important to go over your insurance in detail when you apply for it, because it could save you a lot of headaches once a lawsuit arises. At Hammond Law Firm, we have a heavy background in insurance law, and are experienced in distinguishing the truth from the facts. It’s understandable that the process can be long and complicated for our clients, but we are well-versed in the ins and outs of insurance coverages and steps to take for a court appearance.