Commercial Property Insurance And Liability

From the in-box:

I need to get Business Property Liability Insurance to cover someone if they get hurt on my property.

Great question, and one that will help clear up a common misunderstanding!

Practically everybody is familiar with homeowners insurance. Generally speaking, a homeowners policy covers your home, the property within your home, and any liability stemming from a mishap—such as a slip and fall—that occurs within your home. (Up to the policy limit, of course, and subject to other limitations as well. Read your policy.)

It’s tempting to think of commercial property insurance as simply the commercial version of homeowners insurance. Tempting… but wrong!

Generally speaking, commercial property insurance covers precisely one thing: your commercial property. Depending on your situation, this might mean any of the following:

  • A building and its contents (for example, if your company owns its own building).
  • A building, but not its contents (if your company is a commercial landlord).
  • The contents, but not the building (if your company is leasing office space).
  • Something else entirely.

One thing that commercial property insurance almost never covers, though, is liability. In the world of business insurance, liability is usually broken out into a seperate category of product called (surprise!) liability insurance.

Are there exceptions to this rule? You bet! Commercial property and liability insurance policies are often combined into convenient packages. Examples are the business owners policy, or BOP—which typically serves the needs of sole proprietorships and other very small businesses—and the commercial package policy, which is designed for larger companies with no unusual risks. Some insurers have also evolved package policies for very specific cases that feature both large potential markets and very similar property and liability risks from one prospective insured to another (hairdressing salons and bars, for example).

There are any number of specialized liability insurance products on the market, but the mainstay of the industry—and the one businesses typically turn to to cover such hazards as the personal injury risk mentioned above—is general liability insurance. Generally speaking (pun intended), every business should have some sort of general liability coverage.

The bottom line? There is a reason why, when quoting commercial products, online services like nearly always put you in touch with a human agent. Commercial insurance is a very different animal from the consumer lines, and far more complicated. When planning an insurance strategy for your company, get solid professional advice based on a careful analysis of your company’s needs, and be sure that you have covered both your property and your potential liability.


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