To be in business means to sign contracts - and every one of those contracts requires that you agree to provide some guarantee. A common question is "will my insurance back me up on those guarantees?"

The answer can be complicated. For one thing, it's essential to determine if the contract is one of the types that your Liability coverage specifies as an "insured contract." Although other policy provisions can also apply (such as exclusions and limitations), if a particular contract isn't considered an "insured contract," look no further - your policy won't apply.

Standard Commercial Liability policies usually define "insured contracts" to include:

  • Leases.
  • Sidetrack agreements (made with a railroad if you have tracks crossing your property).
  • Easement or license agreements.
  • Obligations required by ordinance to indemnify a municipality.
  • Elevator maintenance agreements.

Almost all Liability policies also include a broader provision that covers contracts under which your businesses assume the "tort liability" of another party for bodily injury or property damage. "Tort liability" is defined as liability that would exist in the absence of a contract or agreement. In other words, the liability you're assuming must arise from the negligence of the other party to the contract. If the injured person can sue this other party without reference to any contract or agreement ("tort liability"), then a contract under which your business agrees to assume this liability will be considered "insured."

Although it's important, the definition of "insured contract" is only the starting point for determining if Liability coverage applies. Instead of assuming that your policy covers your contractual agreements, give one of our specialists a call. We can review the specific provisions of your current coverage as they might apply to your proposed contract and advise you about possible gaps.

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