What Does General Liability Insurance Actually Cover? | TruckMount Forums #1 Carpet Cleaning Forums

What Does General Liability Insurance Actually Cover?

Dave Weidlich

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Dear Seasoned Veterans,
After the Santa Rosa fires last October, many home and business owners were surprised to find their insurance didn't cover many things they had assumed were insured. So, many of us have been reading our policies more carefully. I am currently studying my General Liability (GL) Insurance policy as it is up for renewal. I am baffled by the obtuse language, double and triple negatives (exclusions and exclusions to the exclusions) - all the legalese that could allow an insurance company to wriggle free from responsibility. I'm also surprised to see that some of my work is not covered. I already knew that I'm not covered in the event of a terrorist attack. OK with that. It was made clear to me that I am not covered and had to agree that I would not work in a motor-home or a new construction site. Today, I'm reading that my work in a town-home or condominium is apparently not covered!?! Leading me to the question WHAT IS ACTUALLY COVERED BY MY GL INSURANCE POLICY???

Here's my question to you: When have you had a work accident or loss for which you needed your GL Insurance to pay out? & Did they pay out?

I want to determine what accidents and losses are most likely to occur and talk to my insurance broker to be sure I am covered for those things. Forget the exclusions. What IS covered?
So far my damages have been things like a broken mirror (I repaired it), a broken teacup (I paid for it) and a cheap rug stretched and warped (I offered to pay for a replacement). My deductible is $1000 so most of my likely damages will have to be self-insured.

Looking forward to your responses.
 

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Jim Davisson

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Most work performed is not covered, you need a care custody and control policy for that. If something was to happen to the work you performed after you left you need a completed operations policy. Insurance protects everyone else's wallet, except yours.
 
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wandwizard

Randy Dockins
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I would be talking to some more insurance agents. My insurance agent told me clearly I am not covered for ANYTHING that I'm working on. Example, if I ruin a sectional worth several grand is on me. He offers no solution to this. The last policy I had through Hiscox, affiliated with Geico, was MUCH worse. They wouldn't even cover me for example, if I were cleaning a vehicle, period. They also refused to cover tile and grout cleaning or any kind of hard surface cleaning. There were some other things about Hiscox I didn't like and I wouldn't advise anyone to use that company.

I was told I'm only covered if there was damage caused by me, but not the actual thing I'm cleaning. Here's the example I was given. Say you're cleaning the carpet and the sub-floor or the baseboards got ruined somehow. They cover the other things, but NOT the carpet. I was actually told by my agent that I should write up a waiver for certain things I clean if I know ahead of time that there are risks involved in cleaning them. Sign it, date it, pictures, and file it. I plan on doing just what he told me until I find some better way. I was also told btw, not to even file a claim if it were under a thousand dollars as every claim will raise your rates at least 5 % for life! Insurance companies love to take your money, but they hate to ever have to actually pay anything, even if you've been with them for many years.
 
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CodyDee

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As an insurance adjuster full time... it’s really meant for the big stuff: your equipment starts a fire and burns down the house. Ask for a pressure washing coverage for tile and grout stuff.
 
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wandwizard

Randy Dockins
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As an insurance adjuster full time... it’s really meant for the big stuff: your equipment starts a fire and burns down the house. Ask for a pressure washing coverage for tile and grout stuff.
I don't know all the ins and outs of the insurance industry, but it seems over the years what they've actually done is to reduce their claims as much as they can by covering as little as they can. I found out I made a big mistake by canceling my old policy and switching to Hiscox through Geico. I later went back to my old company when I realized just how bad Hiscox was. Now guess what? The policy I used to have through Hauler's Insurance is no longer even available. My old policy DID cover what I was working on, but now, under my new policy, NOTHING I'm working on is covered. This seems to be the trend in insurance for GL.

Pressure washing coverage for tile and grout? I would think my agent would've suggested that, but he didn't. If there is such a thing someone PLEASE enlighten me!
 
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Chris Henry

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I don't know all the ins and outs of the insurance industry, but it seems over the years what they've actually done is to reduce their claims as much as they can by covering as little as they can. I found out I made a big mistake by canceling my old policy and switching to Hiscox through Geico. I later went back to my old company when I realized just how bad Hiscox was. Now guess what? The policy I used to have through Hauler's Insurance is no longer even available. My old policy DID cover what I was working on, but now, under my new policy, NOTHING I'm working on is covered. This seems to be the trend in insurance for GL.

Pressure washing coverage for tile and grout? I would think my agent would've suggested that, but he didn't. If there is such a thing someone PLEASE enlighten me!
There is a difference between an insurance agent and an insurance broker. I believe the agent didn't offer a coverage is because that is what a broker gets paid to do. The broker gets a commission for each coverage they sell while the agent gets paid to manage the policy. That is my understanding of it anyway.
 
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Randy Dockins
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So far, no one has actually had an insurance payout.
So why have coverage?
It only takes one single moment of time when either you or someone who works for you is just a hair off their game. Then, you better pray that you have insurance. I've had a few close calls myself over the years that believe me could have been life changers for the WORSE!!!

Here is a personal example. One day I was cleaning in an old house in a different town. They had a gas line coming up out of the floor that was dirty around it so I take an upholstery tool to clean around it CAREFULLY mind you. I barely bump that gas line that is connected in a very weird way to their cook stove. Unknown to me is it snapped off the back of the stove letting natural gas out into the home!!! I won't labor with the details, but believe me, I dodged a bullet on that one. A business KILLING, life-altering bullet! Btw, at the time I had no insurance. This was years ago, but one I'll never forget if I live to be a hundred.

I could go on about how someone might sue you if they slip and fall or you tip over and break any of a number of expensive items that they may claim is worth thousands of dollars even if they have no proof. I've got other stories, but I'm not here to air my dirty laundry!:eek:
 
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wandwizard

Randy Dockins
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So far, no one has actually had an insurance payout.
So why have coverage?
I just want to add that if your agent doesn't spell out to you in clear language that you can understand what is and is not covered DROP THEM. That obtuse language you mentioned is there for a reason. Simply put, they don't want you to understand your policy as to what is and is not covered. If you do ever in your life have a claim they raise your rates automatically in most cases from what I understand even if you've been with them many years and never once had a claim. Still, it's a necessary EVIL. Ask your agent specific questions about what is covered.
 
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Dafloorman

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Insurance is a must, that’s like saying, why should I have car insurance, I never had an accident? I just renewed my last Friday for the whole year, I believe it was $637, it’s just a must have, as many prospects want to see proof of your insurance, I would say that’s the main reason, and just pray to God that you would never have to put in a claim! I also renewed my commercial vehicle insurance about 5 months ago from Alstate which I had for years to Progressive! It was like $140 cheaper each month and I also covered my Truckmount unit!
 
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PistolPete

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Also if you do any commercial work they may ask for your certificate of insurance.
I carry a million dollar liability policy, a million dollar vehicle policy and an inland marine policy which covers the contents of my vehicle (TM & tools).
 

Dave Weidlich

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Also if you do any commercial work they may ask for your certificate of insurance.
I carry a million dollar liability policy, a million dollar vehicle policy and an inland marine policy which covers the contents of my vehicle (TM & tools).
That's why I first got coverage. I have one big, annual customer that requires a certificate of insurance. Aside from them, no one has asked.
 

Dave Weidlich

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I could go on about how someone might sue you if they slip and fall or you tip over and break any of a number of expensive items that they may claim is worth thousands of dollars even if they have no proof. I've got other stories, but I'm not here to air my dirty laundry!:eek:
Thanks. Dirty laundry is what I'm looking for. We deal in dirt.
 

AZHome&Carpet

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Why insurance? So you can print it on a business card of course! Lol
The other day my friend who owns a window company told me a bit. His employee accidentally stepped on a glass ceiling window and broke it at a local hospital. I guarantee if he had no insurance he’d be out of business shortly. One accident, injury or anything your toast. Look at life insurance you will only use it once but someone will be glad you had it.
 

Scott W

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I had two insurance claims in 30+ years. One was covered no question even though I did not think it was our companies fault. The insurance would rather pay than fight it in court.

Second claim was also one that I did not feel we were responsible for. Someone sued us for $66,000. Their lawyer spelled the name of my insurance company (who was also part of the law suit). Judge dismissed them from the lawsuit. Judge decided the actual damages were just under $1700. Our company had to pay.

David and Kari Dybdahl (nationally); Harvey Cohen (Florida) and Cross (can't recall first name) (California are all insurance advisers who specialize in restoration and carpet cleaning companies.
 

mrotto

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when I had techs back in the 80s they shrunk a sofa sectional. Insurance covered it minus the deductible.
 

Smtwn janitorial

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For janitorial, I know most things wont be covered. I look at it as the price to pay for getting proffesional contracts and a small amount of peace of mind.
 
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wandwizard

Randy Dockins
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when I had techs back in the 80s they shrunk a sofa sectional. Insurance covered it minus the deductible.
From what I've been told the insurance industry as a whole is getting away from insuring literally anything that you are working on whether it be a floor, carpet, upholstery, area rug, etc. I made a blunder a few years back and switched to Geico/ Hiscox for liability. All I can say is it was a terrible mistake. My previous policy did cover what I was working on. When I figured out just how bad the Geico/Hiscox policy was I decided to switch back. I found out at that point I could not even buy the same policy and that no policy was offered that covers what I'm working on. I have asked my agent if there is any Bailee's coverage available for carpet cleaners. He has yet to get back with me on that, but it's my understanding there is no Bailees for your typical carpet cleaning business. Does anyone on this forum have coverage that explicitly states that it covers what you're working on for any given customer and any given job type? I'm wondering if my agent is steering me wrong on this.?
 

Hoss4x4

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Dave, Great questions. People who ask these questions will become wealthy. Making sure you know where your liabilities are is great for your business and family. The GL is what I call catastrophic type like the van burns down a house exampled used above. Asking an insurance agent if you need more insurance is like asking a sales man if you need a new car. I would budget an amount and put a side for damaged goods and self insure. We do this with two of our business. It also allows you an emergency fund also.