Tony Moreno | Dec 05, 2015

small-businessNot many small business owners are aware of their risks when it comes to general liability coverage. Once they become aware of the most common and costliest claims, small business owners can then focus their time, energy and resources on the aspects of their company that can save them the most money in the long run. This is why the Hartford, a Connecticut based insurance company, recently performed a national study in order to determine the most common and the most costly general liability claims filed by small businesses. While conducting their research, the team at the Hartford analyzed small business claims from over a million property and liability policies spanning a five year period. The majority of small business owners who have reviewed the statistics provided by the Hartford are actually a little surprised by the findings of the study. This is because you’ll notice that their research has found that the most common claim is actually the least expensive. Burglary and theft is by far the most common small business claim making up nearly 20% of all filed claims, but it typically only costs the company around $8,000. On the other hand, reputational harm is less likely to occur but carries the largest price in terms of numbers.

If you’re curious about the most common and costliest small insurance business claims, take a look at the findings of the study below. It’s important to point out that this study was conducted nationwide and costs are estimated averages, so it may vary for small businesses from state to state. As a matter of fact, the Hartford study has discovered that claims are more costly in the western states due to the higher cost of legal representation and the litigation process.


1) Burglary and Theft – 20%
2) Water and Freezing Damage -15%
3) Wind and Hail Damage – 15%
4) Fire – 10%
5) Customer Slip and Fall – 10%
6) Customer Injury and Damage- Less than 5%
7) Product Liability – Less than 5%
8) Struck by Object – Less than 5%
9)Reputational Harm – Less than 5%
10) Vehicle Accident – Less than 5%


1) Reputational Harm – $50,000
2) Vehicle Accident – $45,000
3) Fire – $35,000
4) Product Liability – $35,000
5) Customer Injury or Damage – $30,000
6) Wind and Hail Damage – $26,000
7) Customer Slip and Fall – $20,000
8) Water and Freezing Damage – $17,000
9) Struck by Object – $10,000
10) Burglary and Theft – $8,000

The Hartford group has also provided a few tips for small business owners in order to minimize their risk of liability. For instance, it’s suggested you perform vigorous background checks on all of your employees prior to hiring, install security cameras and take extra measures to secure your assets to cut back on theft. When it comes to reducing water damage, ensure the utilities of your business location are in good shape. Also, take the appropriate steps to protect your pipes when there’s a freeze in the forecast. Another thing you can do to reduce your costs in case of an unexpected fire is install a high quality fire detection and sprinkler system.

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