Your general liability insurance policy will generally cover ordinary negligence. But for professional negligence, you may need to add a separate professional liability policy. Here's how to tell the difference between these two.
What Is Ordinary Negligence?
Think of ordinary negligence as things that can happen to any ordinary business. You might have a customer slip and fall, you might drop an object while working high up, or you might accidentally damage someone's property. These are the types of claims that can happen to just about any business at any time — even if some businesses might have higher risk than others. Most claims will be for personal injury or property damage, but ordinary negligence isn't limited to these types of claims.
What Is Professional Negligence?
Professional negligence is when a highly trained and specialized professional makes a mistake within their specific line of expertise. A lawyer might give bad legal advice, an accountant might make a mistake on a tax return, a plumber might cause a flood, or an electrician might cause an electrical fire. The key is that it's a mistake in professional judgment or an error in executing specialized work. These professionals can still commit ordinary negligence for ordinary claims like slip and falls.
What Does Your General Liability Insurance Cover?
Your general liability insurance covers the ordinary negligence type of claims. Most policies specifically exclude acts of professional negligence. This doesn't mean that professional negligence is less important or less likely. Insurance companies simply split these claims out into a separate professional liability insurance policy because there are different risks and pricing involved. If you're in a profession that has a potential for professional liability, you won't have full coverage if you only buy a generic general liability policy.
How Can I Add Professional Liability Coverage?
You can add professional liability coverage separately or as a specialized general liability insurance coverage. Remember that insurance is often described with broad labels, but it really comes down to the wording of the specific policy. If you're a plumber and you buy a specialized general liability insurance package designed for plumbers, it might come with bundled professional liability coverage in the same policy. Your Berryhill Insurance Group agent can help you determine if a single policy gives you full coverage or if you need to add additional coverages.
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