CGL Insurance: Understanding Commercial General Liability Insurance

As a business owner or operator, it’s important to ensure that your organization is protected against any potential liabilities or lawsuits that may arise. That’s where CGL insurance comes in, as it provides coverage for a wide range of risks that businesses may face. In this article, we’ll discuss CGL insurance and what it covers, as well as answer common questions about this important coverage.

What is CGL Insurance?

CGL insurance, or commercial general liability insurance, is a type of insurance coverage that protects businesses against third-party claims of bodily injury, property damage, and personal injury. This includes injuries or damages that may occur on the business’s premises, as well as those that occur as a result of the business’s operations or products.

Most liability lawsuits involve claims of negligence, which means that the business failed to take reasonable steps to prevent harm or injury to others. CGL insurance can help cover the costs of legal defense, settlement, or judgments resulting from such claims.

What Does CGL Insurance Cover?

CGL insurance typically covers a range of risks, including:

What CGL Insurance Covers
Bodily Injury
A customer slips and falls in your store, or is injured by a defective product you sell
Property Damage
Your employee damages a client’s property during a job, or a fire starts in your business and damages neighboring buildings
Personal and Advertising Injury
A competitor claims you’ve defamed them in an advertisement, or your business is accused of infringing on someone else’s copyright

It’s important to note that CGL insurance typically does not cover intentional acts or criminal behavior, such as fraud, assault, or theft.

Do I Need CGL Insurance?

If you own or operate a business, it’s highly recommended that you carry CGL insurance. Without this coverage, your business could be at risk of financial ruin if a liability claim arises. Even if you believe that your business is low-risk, accidents can happen and lawsuits can be costly.

In addition, many contracts and leases require businesses to carry CGL insurance as a condition of doing business. Failing to meet these requirements could result in legal or financial penalties.

How Much Does CGL Insurance Cost?

The cost of CGL insurance varies based on a number of factors, including the size and type of business, the level of risk involved, and the policy limits and deductibles chosen. To get an accurate quote for CGL insurance, it’s best to consult with a licensed insurance agent who can assess your specific needs and provide a customized policy.

How Do I Choose the Right CGL Insurance Policy?

When selecting a CGL insurance policy, it’s important to consider several factors:

  • Policy Limits: Make sure that your policy limits are high enough to cover potential liabilities. A general rule of thumb is to select a policy limit that is equal to or greater than the value of your assets.
  • Deductibles: Consider what deductible amount you can afford to pay out of pocket in the event of a claim. Higher deductibles typically mean lower premiums, but could also result in higher out-of-pocket expenses.
  • Coverage Options: Some CGL policies may offer additional coverage options, such as cyber liability or employment practices liability insurance. Consider whether these options are necessary for your business.
  • Insurance Company: Choose a reputable insurance company with a solid financial rating and good customer service.


CGL insurance is an essential type of coverage for any business that wants to protect itself against potential liabilities and lawsuits. By understanding what CGL insurance covers and how to choose the right policy, you can ensure that your business is adequately protected and prepared for any unforeseen circumstances.


Q: What’s the difference between CGL insurance and professional liability insurance?

A: CGL insurance covers bodily injury, property damage, and personal injury caused by the business’s operations or products, while professional liability insurance (also known as errors and omissions insurance) covers claims of negligence or errors related to professional services provided by the business.

Q: Is CGL insurance required by law?

A: CGL insurance is not required by law in most states, but it may be required by contracts or leases. Some industries, such as construction or healthcare, may have specific requirements for liability insurance.

Q: What’s excluded from CGL insurance coverage?

A: CGL insurance typically does not cover intentional acts, criminal behavior, or employee injuries (which are typically covered by workers’ compensation insurance).

Q: Can I add additional insureds to my CGL policy?

A: Many CGL policies allow for the addition of additional insureds, such as landlords, vendors, or clients. This can provide an added layer of protection for both your business and the additional insured.

Q: What happens if I don’t have CGL insurance and someone sues my business?

A: Without CGL insurance, your business could be responsible for paying all legal defense costs, settlements, and judgments out of pocket. This could potentially bankrupt your business or force you to sell assets or close your doors.