Product Liability Insurance helps protect your company from damages for losses related to manufacturing or selling products or other goods.
These claims can, and do, put businesses out of business – just ask the officers of any asbestos manufacturer.
Companies are vulnerable to three types of products claims
- Manufacturing or production flaws that create an unsafe defect in the product. For an example, just recall the recent claims against Chinese manufacturers for using dangerous chemicals in their products.
- Design defects that make the product inherently unsafe. (The series of lawsuits against Toyota vehicles for defective acceleration controls during the past two years comes to mind.)
- Inadequate warnings or instructions, such as failing to label a product properly or advise consumers about potential risks. A famous example is the McDonald’s “hot coffee case.”
Damages can include medical costs, compensatory damages, economic damages, and (in some instances) attorney fees and costs, as well as any punitive damages.
Some sellers and retailers choose not to buy Product Liability Insurance because they don’t actually “manufacture” anything. However, most states follow the “stream of commerce” model of liability, meaning that if your company sells a product, you can be held liable for damages to the end user.
“Business Owners” and Commercial General Liability policies usually include some type of Product Liability Coverage (Sometimes known as Product/Completed Operations Insurance).
Premiums are based upon the type of product and sales volume. If you try to reduce premiums by underreporting sales or insuring only a percentage of your sales, you’ll probably face a hefty “underinsurance” penalty. Make sure to identify your products properly, too. For example; if you supply stepstools, you don’t want them categorized as ladders, which have a higher premium because of their greater risk potential.
For more information, feel free to get in touch with our Business Insurance professionals.