Under a general liability insurance policy (a.k.a., “trip and fall insurance”), the insurer is obligated to pay the legal costs of a business in a covered liability claim or lawsuit. Covered liability claims include bodily injury, property damage, personal injury, and advertising injury (damage from slander or false advertising). The insurance company also covers compensatory and general damages.
While I think the risk in getting sued for tripping over a power cord is negligible, sometimes general liability insurance is a contractual requirement to do business with the government and some large companies. Further, body shops (agencies that place temporary consultants) try to dissuade consultants from requesting 1099/Corp-to-Corp arrangements by throwing a $1M insurance requirement at them.
So having it is a good thing, and can open the doors to potential business a little wider. The question is, how much does it cost and how do I get it?
General liability insurance should cost a web-development/consulting/μISV firm no more than $550 per year for one million dollars in coverage (which is the most often requested amount).
Unfortunately, Google searches for general liability insurance turns up hundreds of false hits with verbiage designed to attract search hits and sell insurance advertising. This is very frustrating, especially if you request a quote from a broker that only specializes in construction businesses.
I was referred to the following companies by my peers and ultimately I purchased insurance at different times through them:
- TechInsurance.com. Tech Insurance is a broker that will sell you a policy from Hartford. Most of the online brokers tend to sell policies from Hartford (most enlightened about the web/consulting/tech businesses).
- CCBsure. CCBsure is a online broker that will give you an online quote, instant acceptance, and allow you to request certificates of insurance online.