When you think about liability insurance, the first thing that likely comes to mind is the coverage it provides in terms of accidents or mistakes. These types of mishaps often include things like a customer falling in your workspace. Or they may be damage you caused to a customer’s property while working onsite. True, these things are covered. But general liability insurance actually covers more than that. It also covers personal and advertising injury – which is extremely important for every type of business.
That means whatever your line of work, this also applies to you. That’s because personal advertising injury claims can happen to anyone. And if they do, you need to know you have personal and advertising injury coverage in place to protect your business properly.
Explanation of a personal and advertising injury
Personal and advertising injuries are those injuries that arise out of any number of activities. These include defamation in the form of libel – such as writing, print, signs, or pictures – that in any way damage one’s reputation, ridicule the person, or harm them in a professional way. Similarly, slander is also considered a personal and advertising injury. The main difference is that slander is spoken rather than written. Either way, these activities are illegal. And surprisingly happen more often than you might think, often without any ill intent.
Another form of injury covered by advertising liability is disparagement of goods. Disparagement of goods is basically any false or offensive statement made about the products or services a company provides, and the damages caused to the company as a result. Losses resulting from copyright infringement and stolen ideas also fit under the category of personal and advertising injury.
Other things that may be considered personal and advertising injury include wrongful eviction, wrongful entry or wrongful invasion of a premises; malicious prosecution and even false detention or imprisonment.
What is personal and advertising injury coverage as a part of a general liability policy?
Personal and advertising injury liability, also known as Coverage B, is part of your general liability insurance policy. In fact, it is automatically included. Just keep in mind, the exact details of what is covered may vary based on your profession and your exact policy.
Generally, if you have personal advertising injury coverage, your business is protected against claims like invasion of privacy, copyright infringement, stolen ideas, libel, and slander. That means your insurance covers both your legal costs in such lawsuits, as well as potential payouts if necessary. These include claims made against yourself, as well as your employees.
Examples of common personal and advertising injury insurance claims
You can gain a better understanding of the types of insurance claims covered by personal and advertising liability insurance, with these common examples that can happen to anyone.
For example, you’re a contractor and one of your workers doesn’t like how a client treated him. So he goes to Facebook and shares his bad-mouthing with the world. Your client happens to notice this post and sues you as his employer. That’s where your advertising liability coverage kicks in.
Similarly, your employee writes a Facebook post bad-mouthing the competition. He means well in terms of building up your business, but the competition hears about it and wants to sue.
Or how about if you take a proud picture of a home renovation you completed and use it in a flyer? The problem is, you need the client’s permission first. If you didn’t get it, he can sue. Likewise, if you’re a hairdresser and post what your customer considers an unflattering photo to Instagram, again, she can sue.
Then there’s your graphic artist who came up with a great slogan for your company t-shirts. The problem is, you didn’t check, and the slogan’s actually copyrighted. Or perhaps your sales manager took out an ad claiming you have the lowest prices. She certainly thought so that at the time, but it turns out, that’s not true.
You get the picture. These kinds of mistakes are of human nature. And they can happen to anyone, completely accidentally. The main thing is, you need insurance coverage to protect your business if they do.
Tips on how to avoid these types of claims
While business insurance will cover you from many personal and advertising injury liability claims, your best protection starts with avoidance. A few things you can do to help avoid these types of claims include:
- Always ask the customer for permission before you use a picture of them or their property in any format (Facebook, Instagram, your website, etc.).
- Make sure to tell the customer how and when any image will be used.
- Never speak badly about the competition – This includes faulting their work, insulting their employees, or claiming they overcharge.
- Never speak badly about your customers, to anyone, even if you think what you’re saying is true.
- Always check the copyrights on the images and slogans you use in advertising.
- If something is copyrighted, get permission to use it or use the required references.
- Double check any facts or numbers you use in advertisements or quotes you give to customers – This includes claims in terms of your pricing such as “we’re the cheapest around”, or materials such as our cleaning products are “100% natural”.
These are only some of the things you should be doing. Overall, you need to educate yourself in terms of your business’ vulnerabilities. Once you’ve done that, we recommend you establish clear policies, similar to the ones above, for all your employees to follow.
Keep in mind, you may also want to get professional liability insurance. Basically, it’s an added layer of protection against civil lawsuits and negligence claims resulting from errors and omissions.
Benefits of a Next Insurance policy
With a Next Insurance general liability policy, you get coverage for bodily injury, personal and advertising injury, and property damage all-in-one. You also get:
- Simplicity – As a 100% online service, you can quickly purchase and manage your policy online.
- Affordability – Choose to pay on a monthly or annual basis at the same great price.
- Tailored coverage – Your policy is designed to meet your exact business needs, nothing more, nothing less.
In other words, no matter what you’re doing professionally, you’re well protected with a Next Insurance policy. And that’s exactly what you need to get ahead!