General Liability Insurance for Lawyers: Coverage Types, FAQs & More
Are you thinking of going solo and starting your own law practice? If so, you might want to look into general liability insurance for lawyers.
Attorneys are not typically required to carry general liability coverage. However, this type of insurance may still be worth considering, as it can provide relatively cost-effective protection against a broad range of common risks.
It may also be a more affordable alternative to a Business Owners Policy (BOP), especially for young or small practices running on tighter budgets.
What is General Liability Insurance?
General liability insurance can protect businesses against claims made by third parties that have sustained harm or loss on the business premises or in the course of the business operations.
Note that general liability coverage is not the same as professional liability or malpractice insurance for lawyers
, which can protect you from claims that relate specifically to your legal practice.
You can purchase general liability insurance as a standalone policy. Alternatively, you may get it as part of a larger bundle like a Business Owners Policy that offers additional coverage.
What Does General Liability Insurance Typically Cover?
A standard general liability policy typically covers legal defense costs and the costs of settlements and judgments resulting from various claims, such as:
- Bodily injury. If someone is injured at your place of business or as a result of your operations, you may be liable for the ensuing medical expenses and loss of income, as well as for their emotional pain and suffering. Slip-and-fall accidents are one of the most common types of injuries on business premises.
- Property damage. If you damage someone’s property in the course of doing business, you may be liable for its value.
- Advertising liability. This typically includes coverage against claims for false advertising and copyright infringement.
- Tenant legal liability. If you rent your office, you could be liable for damage to the property even if you may not be personally responsible, such as when an employee accidentally starts a fire. This is why many landlords may require you to carry general liability coverage if you are renting office space from them.
- Product liability. This includes injuries caused by a product you placed in the hands of your client.
- Defamation of character. This may include reputational harm resulting from libel and slander, as well as malicious prosecution, false arrest, wrongful eviction, and invasion of privacy.
What Does General Liability Insurance Not Typically Cover?
General liability policies do not typically cover:
- Work-related injuries. To protect your business against claims for injuries or illnesses sustained by your employees in the course of their work, you may need a workers’ compensation package.
- Breach of professional duty. Professional liability insurance can protect you against claims for omissions and errors you may have made when providing your professional services.
- Cybercrime. Are you looking to protect your practice from internet crimes like data breaches or cyber extortion? If so, consider purchasing cyber liability insurance.
General Liability Insurance for Lawyers FAQs
Here are the answers to some common questions about general liability insurance:
As an Attorney, Do I Need to Carry General Liability Insurance?
You should check with your state bar association or applicable administrative agency whether this coverage is mandatory.
Even though you may not be required to carry a general liability policy, it may still be a good idea to get one, especially if you do not need a Business Owners Policy at this stage.
General liability insurance can help protect your practice from a broad range of common risks in its early days. That can provide you with some peace of mind, allowing you to focus on working hard to take your business to the next level.
How Much Does General Liability Coverage Cost?
The cost of general liability policies varies and may depend on several factors, including:
- The insurance provider
- The size and location of your firm
- Your payroll amounts and annual revenue
- Any previous claims that may have been filed against you
- How long you have been in business
- The size of your client base
How Much Coverage?
Again, this would likely depend on the factors listed above and the specific needs of your business. Small and medium-sized practices typically opt for limits of $1 to $2 million.
When Should I Purchase General Liability Insurance?
Ideally, you should consider purchasing general liability coverage before you open your private practice. The longer you wait, the more you expose yourself and your business to potential liability. This could also create gaps in coverage that may leave you vulnerable down the road, even if you subsequently purchase general liability insurance.
What if you have already started your practice and do not have insurance? It is never too late to get coverage – but try to do that as soon as possible.
I Already Have a Business Owners Policy. Do I Need Separate General Liability Coverage?
A standard Business Owners Policy will typically include general liability as part of the bundle, so you may want to double-check your existing coverage if you have already purchased a BOP.
What is a Common Myth About General Liability Insurance?
Contrary to what some people may believe, general liability policies are affordable. In fact, they can often be more affordable than professional liability insurance.
General Liability Insurance for Lawyers: Final Thoughts
While you may not be required to carry general liability coverage, it may be a good idea to invest in a suitable policy if your practice is just starting out.
On any given day, you and your employees are likely to interact with many people: clients, contractors, vendors, and more. Unfortunately, life happens. Any one of those people could suffer an injury or a loss on your premises or in the course of your business operations.
A general liability policy can provide you with protection against potentially costly litigation, settlements, and judgments.
Get your free quote today.
This information is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended to provide individualized advice. All descriptions, summaries or highlights of coverage are for general informational purposes only and do not amend, alter or modify the actual terms or conditions of any insurance policy. Coverage is governed only by the terms and conditions of the relevant policy.