Business general liability insurance, often referred to as business liability insurance or commercial general liability insurance, helps protect small businesses against claims related to third party property damage, bodily injury, and certain other issues. Incidents can happen any time during the normal process of doing business. For example:
- A client slips and falls in your parking lot and breaks their leg.
- A customer falls off a chair at your café and hits their head against the floor.
- An employee breaks a client’s valuable vase while laying a new floor in their home.
While general liability insurance isn’t required in Virginia, it’s a good idea for businesses to have it. In the situations outlined above, insurance would likely cover the expenses related to the incidents. If the business owner didn’t have coverage, he or she would have to pay for the damages out of pocket.
Many companies offer business liability coverage, most often as a part of a Business Owners Policy (BOP). We checked out many of them to come up with our list of the six top providers in Virginia for a range of reasons. We also managed to pull quotes from several of the companies for a small landscaping company with four employees earning $400,000 in annual revenue. We also include all the information you need to find and purchase the right coverage for you.
- Top 6 providers of general liability insurance in Virginia
- What does general liability insurance cover?
- What does general liability insurance not cover?
- Why Virginia small businesses should get general liability insurance
- How much does general liability insurance cost in Virginia?
- How to find cheap general liability insurance in Virginia
Top 6 providers of general liability insurance in Virginia
We researched more than 20 insurers offering general liability coverage for small businesses in Virginia. Here are our recommendations of the 6 best providers for different reasons.
- CoverWallet: Best for businesses that want to compare quotes quickly
- Liberty Mutual: Best for growing companies
- The Hartford: Best for businesses looking for a sound and ethical insurer
- Travelers: Best for companies that want coverage from an industry leader
- Chubb: Best for companies that have industry-specific insurance needs
- Next: Best online experience
CoverWallet: Best for businesses that want to compare quotes quickly
CoverWallet is a cutting-edge insurance provider. The firm has developed its own state-of-the-art platform, based on its own algorithms, to ensure it is able to connect small businesses with all the business insurance they need, including general liability coverage, at the most reasonable price. The platform makes it quick and easy to get quotes from several providers at once, making it possible to compare quotes from highly reputable insurers all on a single screen.
Here’s what a comparative quote from CoverWallet looks like.
The firm’s experts have used their extensive experience to make sure you only have to input the information needed to generate quick and accurate quotes. The entire process should take less than ten minutes.
For a landscaping company with 4 full-time employees and $400,000 in annual revenue located in Fairfax, Virginia, Hiscox provides the cheapest quote of $115 a month. However, this might be the same for your own company, so be sure to get quotes from CoverWallet and others to compare and select the cheapest one for you.
You can feel confident knowing that CoverWallet is a part of Aon, an established company that provides advice to businesses on things like risk, health, and retirement.
Once you get your quote, CoverWallet makes it easy to purchase a general liability policy or complete business insurance package online or through an agent. When you get your general liability policy through CoverWallet, it’s simple to manage your coverage online, including downloading a certificate of insurance, filing a claim, renewing your insurance, and more.
Liberty Mutual: Best for growing companies
Small businesses change over time, and their insurance needs evolve. Liberty Mutual is uniquely able to serve their changing insurance needs. In addition to the core general liability protection, they offer one of the most comprehensive ranges of business coverages of any insurer. They are able to customize policies to meet the needs of virtually any business. In addition to this, their experts are always looking ahead to identify new business risks and find efficient ways to cover them.
In addition to its flexibility, Liberty Mutual is a Fortune 100 company and one of the largest insurance firms in the United States and across the globe. You can feel confident knowing that Liberty Mutual will have the funds to cover any claim you make.
Also, Liberty Mutual is known for its workplace safety programs. By implementing them, you may be able to save on your general liability premium costs over time.
The Hartford: Best for businesses looking for a sound and ethical insurer
The Hartford is one of the oldest companies of any kind in the United States. It’s been offering insurance solutions for more than 200 years and has helped one million plus businesses with their insurance needs. The company takes pride in the fact that the Ethisphere Institute named The Hartford a World’s Most Ethical Company twelve times. The Hartford’s longevity and focus on ethical business practices makes it a company that you can feel good about doing business with.
The Hartford’s dedicated and highly experienced small business team is available to help company owners explore their business liability and other commercial insurance options. If you decide to purchase insurance from The Hartford, you can rest assured knowing you’re entrusting your business to a strong, stable, knowledgeable, and ethical provider.
Here is a sample of a quote from The Hartford.
Travelers: Best for companies that want coverage from an industry leader
Travelers is a leading provider of general liability insurance in the United States. The company has been in business for more than 165 years and is the only property casualty company in the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
Travelers is known for its high level of customer service, flexible solutions, responsive service, and cutting-edge innovation. Travelers also uses the extensive experience of its more than 30,000 employees to help businesses reduce risk, which typically results in lower premium costs.
Travelers is known for its:
- Flexible solutions. It has insurance packages tailored to different industries that can be customized for individual businesses.
- Responsive and reliable service. An experienced professional is always available to answer your questions about business general liability coverage and other types of insurance or to help you with a claim.
- Innovation. Even though Travelers has been around for a long time, it’s known as a leading innovator in the insurance industry.
In the end, Travelers offers quality general liability and other types of protection for businesses in many industries. You owe it to yourself to see if this industry leader could be the right provider for your business.
Chubb: Best for companies that have industry-specific insurance needs
Chubb is the largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company in the world.
Chubb focuses on understanding the unique risks of businesses in different industries including technology, healthcare, and real estate. That means your business general liability coverage can be combined with other coverages (Chubb has more than 30 of them) to protect against the risks of any company in virtually any industry.
Because the experts at Chubb have such a deep understanding of the risks faced by businesses in many industries, they have programs — and are able to offer advice — on how to reduce risks in the workplace. Not only is lowering risk levels the right thing to do, it can help reduce general liability and other business insurance costs.
Next: Best online experience
Next is changing how businesses purchase general liability insurance and other coverage.
Their operation is focused on delivering the ultimate online insurance experience. Because of this, you’re able to purchase a policy, file a claim or get a certificate of insurance any place, any time, 365 days a year. Even though Next is an online insurer, you can get expert help over the phone when you need it. The firm is also known for being able to make most claims decisions within 48 hours.
Even though Next is a relatively new and innovative company, you can rest assured knowing it has an excellent rating from A.M. Best, an insurance company rating agency. All the company’s policies are backed by MunichRe, an established insurance company and reinsurer. More than 10,000 business owners have turned to Next for their insurance needs. The firm has earned a solid 4.7 customer rating.
One caveat about Next: It offers insurance coverage for a limited number of industries.
What does general liability insurance cover?
General liability insurance helps pay for property and other types of damage that occur as a part of doing business. It also helps cover injuries that happen on your business property. Some examples of things covered by a general liability insurance policy include:
- A customer or client’s medical expenses if they slip, fall and break their leg in your lobby.
- The cost to repair a sofa damaged by a contractor working on a client’s home.
- Judgements and settlements if a client sues you for slander.
Typically, general liability insurance can help cover claims related to:
- Third party property damage caused by you or an employee while conducting business
- Medical costs if your customer or client gets hurt when visiting your business
- Reputational harm resulting from malicious slander, libel, wrongful eviction, violating a person’s privacy and more
- Advertising issues, such as copyright infringement and mistakes on your website.
What does general liability insurance not cover?
General liability insurance provides very specific types of coverage. It doesn’t cover all aspects of your business or the risks it could face.
Here are some examples of things that are definitely not covered:
- Worker injuries: Your general liability insurance covers injuries to clients, customers and passers-by that happen on your business property. However, it doesn’t cover employees injured while on the job. You’ll need workers’ compensation insurance for that.
- Bad professional advice: If you or someone who works for you provides a client or customer with incorrect or incomplete advice, general liability won’t cover it. You’ll need to buy professional liability insurance to be protected.
- Vehicle damage: If a business-owned car or other vehicle is damaged in an accident while being used for work related purposes, your personal auto policy wouldn’t cover it. You’ll have to buy commercial auto insurance for that protection.
- Crime or theft: If an employee commits a crime against your business or steals from it, general liability will not make your business whole. You will have to purchase employee dishonesty insurance.
- Data theft or loss: If your business data is lost, compromised or stolen, your business general liability coverage won’t pay for related costs. Cyber security insurance covers those losses.
- Business property damage: General liability covers third party property damage, but it doesn’t cover damage to your business property, including buildings, equipment or merchandise. You’ll need commercial property coverage for this.
Why Virginia small businesses should get general liability insurance
The Commonwealth of Virginia doesn’t require businesses to carry general liability insurance. However, it’s a good idea for small businesses to have it.
Think about it: If a visitor slipped and fell at your business and was injured, could you afford to pay their medical bills? Would you be able to pay to repair damage to a valuable painting if it’s caused by you or an employee while working at a client’s house?
The answer for most businesses is NO and NO. That’s why general liability is one of the most popular business coverages, after workers’ comp and commercial vehicle insurance.
How much does general liability insurance cost in Virginia?
The price of general liability coverage can vary more than almost any other type of business insurance. It’s dependent on many factors, including company industry, size of the operation, condition of business property and the specific risks faced by the business. The cost of this coverage can range from several hundred to many thousands of dollars a year.
On average, small businesses in Virginia pays between $450 to $3,000 a year for general liability insurance.
The best way to ensure you’re paying a fair price for your general liability coverage is to get quotes from multiple providers. That way, you can compare coverages and costs to find the best combination for you. If you have any doubts, speak with an experienced insurance agent.
Different insurance companies will offer you different quotes. Be sure to shop around with a few companies or with a digital broker like CoverWallet to compare several quotes to select the best and the cheapest one for your company.
How to find cheap general liability insurance in Virginia
Here are some tips to help you find the coverage you need at a fair price:
- Shop around for the best value. Get quotes from a few companies or compare the multiple quotes generated by a service like CoverWallet.
- Don’t stop shopping around. Make sure you get new quotes before you renew your policy.
- Take advantage of discounts. If they’re not offered to you when getting a quote, ask about them, whether you’re buying online or through an agent.
Taking these steps will help ensure you’re not paying too much for your general liability coverage.