Likewise, if you’re moving a piece of heavy furniture around your store and you create deep scratches in the floor and cause dents in the walls, your landlord has the right to demand payment for the damages. Your CGL policy is there to help cover expenses like this as well.
Consider another example. Imagine that you create an advertising campaign comparing your services to those of a competitor, but the competitor says you went too far and sues you for slander. Your CGL policy can help cover any impending legal expenses from a lawsuit as well.
Excess Liability Riders & Umbrella Liability
Also, as mentioned above, you can expand the range of your CGL policy by purchasing an excess liability rider, which will help pay for covered losses that exceed your policy’s limit. You can also purchase umbrella liability that expands the types of claims that are covered (see exclusions below).
The CGL policy can also be one of two types — “occurrence” and “claims made.” Occurrence policies cover any injury or damage that occurs during the policy’s term, even if the claim is made after the expiration of the policy. Claims-made policies generally only cover incidents that both occur during the policy’s term and are reported during the policy’s term.
Denials and Delays
Your CGL insurer may deny your claim based on a number of exclusions contained within the policy, which we will discuss below. They may also deny your claim by asserting it is fraudulent, claiming it was filed outside the filing limit, claiming that it lacked relevant information, or claiming that you have exceeded your coverage limits. As for the filing time frame, each policy will state a time frame for reporting a claim. Some range as high as 120 days, while others are as low as 30 days.
Even if you don’t get an outright denial, insurers are notorious for using stalling tactics, constantly coming back for further information or clarifications. They have even been known to switch insurance claims adjusters on you in the middle of the process so that you are forced to start the process all over again. By delaying, the hope is that you will simply give up out of exasperation.
In any of these situations, you will need the help of an experienced commercial liability insurance claims attorney who knows how to stand up to the insurers’ “bad faith” tactics and other techniques that they use to avoid liability.
Exclusions in CGL Policies
Reading the fine print on any insurance policy, including the section that lists what’s not covered, is always important. Typically, CGL policies will exclude claims that are:
- Caused by Your Own Work – For example, if you construct a brick wall and it collapses, your policy will not cover it.
- Intentional – The policyholder intentionally causes property damage or bodily injury.
- Contractual – The insured assumed the liability of another in a contract or agreement.
- Liquor-Based – If the insured’s business sells alcohol, the insurer may exclude coverage if damage or injury results from liquor usage.
- Pollution-Caused – If a discharge of pollutants from the premises causes bodily injury, that will be excluded.
- Goods or Services that Fail to Perform as Advertised – if goods sold or services rendered do not live up to advertised standards, no coverage is available.
- Infringing on A Patent, Trademark, or Trade Secret – if the insured infringes on others’ intellectual property, coverage is excluded.
Work with A Firm That Understands
Commercial Insurance Claims
At the end of the day, the old phrase, buyer beware applies, especially when you’re shopping for Commercial General Liability (CGL) insurance. Not only are there exclusions, but there are also limitations and caps on payouts. Be sure you obtain a policy that covers what you perceive to be potential liabilities.
Even if you get the policy of your choice with all the inclusions and features you want, insurance companies will still likely try to delay or deny any claim you make. The adjuster assigned to your case may try to get you to say or admit to something that can be used against you and your claim.
Luckily, you don’t have to face these challenges alone. With an experienced commercial insurance claims attorney on your side, you can be sure that your rights will be protected and that you won’t be taken advantage of by the insurance company. If you or someone you know is facing an issue with an insurance claim, don’t wait. Call or reach out to our firm, McLaurin Law, today for reliable legal guidance and representation.