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General liability insurance for independent contractors

As an independent contractor, general liability insurance might not top your list of priorities. But when something goes wrong, it can protect you from expensive legal costs.

When do independent contractors need general liability insurance?

As an IT contractor, clients will often require that you carry general liability insurance. Without it, they'll take their business somewhere else.

Clients require this coverage because they want proof that you can cover the cost of a lawsuit. And they want assurance they won't be stuck with the bill if your business costs them money or causes an injury. But clients aren't the only ones who benefit. General liability insurance protects you from these expenses too.

If a client requires insurance coverage, your contract will typically spell out the type and amount of coverage you need to carry. For general liability insurance, clients often require a policy limit of at least $1 million.

How does general liability insurance benefit contractors?

Even when it's not required, contractors may choose to buy general liability insurance to protect against common risks. Just like any other business, as an independent contractor you could be liable for accidents or injuries to clients or other third parties.

You could be held responsible for:

  • Property damage, like dropping a client's laptop
  • Bodily injury, like a client tripping over an extension cord in your cluttered workspace
  • Advertising injury, like badmouthing a client on social media

Independent contractors usually don't have the funds or the resources to deal with these types of lawsuits. General liability insurance covers your legal defense costs, as well as any court judgments or settlements.

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How do contractors get general liability insurance?

As an independent contractor, it’s pretty easy to get general liability insurance coverage to satisfy client requirements and bring you peace of mind. You can obtain this key small business policy through TechInsurance in four steps.

1. Apply for general liability insurance online

Like most other types of commercial insurance, getting a general liability insurance policy begins with submitting an application. When you purchase your policy with TechInsurance, you can apply online and get quotes from multiple carriers.

Here are a few tips to make the online application process easier:

  • Set aside a few minutes to complete the application.
  • Be ready to provide basic information about your contracting business, including the location and size of your office space, number of employees, payroll, and revenue.
  • Contact a TechInsurance agent if you’re not sure how to answer a question. Insurance companies sometimes have very specific or seemingly irrelevant questions, but our expert agents can help clear up any confusion.

2. Get help from your insurance agent

Once you’ve submitted your online application, an insurance agent will typically reach out to help you choose the policy that makes the most sense for the type of work you do. Feel free to ask your agent any questions about independent contractor insurance, such as:

  • Can I save money by bundling general liability insurance with commercial property insurance in a business owner’s policy (BOP)?
  • Should I pay my premiums in monthly or annual installments?
  • What types of incidents aren't covered by my policy?
  • What other contractor's insurance policies might I need?

3. Sign the policy to start coverage

After you select an insurance provider and policy, your agent will send you the necessary documents by email. Sign and submit these documents online and make your first premium payment to immediately begin coverage.

4. Let clients know you’re insured

Now that you have general liability coverage in place, you can advertise yourself as an insured contractor when you talk to potential clients or submit a bid for a new project. Many clients prefer to work with insured contractors because they know they're protected.

A certificate of insurance, which you can download as soon as you start coverage, provides proof of insurance for your current and future clients.

How much does general liability insurance cost?

Tech businesses pay a median of $28 per month when they purchase general liability insurance through TechInsurance. Learn more about general liability insurance costs.

While it’s tempting to stick to monthly payments so you don’t have to pay the entire premium at one time, you can actually save money on commercial insurance by paying your annual insurance costs upfront every year.

Can clients add a contractor as an additional insured?

Yes, a client can also add you to their general liability policy as an additional insured. As an additional insured, you’ll have coverage even though you aren’t a policyholder. If you don’t have general liability insurance, you may be able to negotiate with clients to add you as an additional insured.

Sometimes, though, a client will ask you to add them as an additional insured on your policy. The details of these arrangements depend on the relationship you have with the client, as well as your insurance status.

Do I need any other contractor insurance policies?

General liability insurance doesn't cover all your risks – that's why there are numerous types of insurance. Small business owners can purchase additional coverage to match their specific risks.

Commercial general liability insurance doesn’t cover professional liabilities like disputes over professional services, missed deadlines, or data breaches. That's why many tech contractors carry technology errors and omissions insurance, also known as tech E&O, to protect them from these types of lawsuits.

If you drive to visit clients or haul equipment, you may need to purchase hired and non-owned auto insurance (HNOA) or commercial auto insurance. If your consulting business has employees, you might also need workers’ compensation insurance.

Get free quotes and compare policies with TechInsurance

TechInsurance helps IT and tech business owners compare small business insurance quotes with one easy online application. Start an application today to find the right policy at the most affordable price for your business.

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