When searching for the right insurance for your business, the terms can get confusing. There are dozens of insurance policies available that each cover different dangers your business might face. Despite what some may think, professional liability and general liability are not the same. These two insurances cover completely different areas of liability for your business.
General liability insurance covers incidents involving bodily injury and property damage that arises out of normal business work and non-professional negligent acts. It can help pay for medical expenses and legal fees if the victim decides to sue. Non-professional negligent acts refers to the general responsibility of the business to avoid causing harm to others. Professional negligence refers to a professional with a claimed specialized skill. This means the professional is expected to offer a certain level of care. Since general liability insurance doesn’t cover this type of negligence, businesses should invest in professional liability insurance.
The Many Names of Professional Liability
Professional liability insurance has many names, depending on your location and industry. In the U.S., this insurance is commonly known as Errors & Omissions, or E&O insurance. In the medical field, it’s known as medical malpractice insurance.
Professional liability insurance covers areas of professional negligence, often if that negligence results in monetary loss for their customers. Professionals that are particularly vulnerable to professional liability claims are:
- Medical professionals (especially surgeons)
- Insurance professionals
- Investment advisors
There are many more industries and companies that benefit from professional liability insurance. Essentially any business that offers specialized services to the public should carry professional liability insurance.
Keep in mind that professional liability and general liability, despite their similarities, do not overlap. You should carry both to safeguard against claims involving bodily injury, property damage, non-professional negligence and professional negligence.
How Much Professional Liability Do I Need?
The amount of professional liability you need depends on the business and its industry risks. The lowest limit is typically $1 million per claim, but larger businesses will need more insurance. High-risk industries such as medicine and law should carry more professional liability insurance. For businesses with particularly frequent or expensive liability lawsuits, you can also purchase an umbrella liability policy. An umbrella liability insurance policy steps in where your other liability policies reach their maximum. This policy can apply to both professional liability and general liability.