Commercial Lines Insurance: Definition, Types, vs. Personal Lines (2024)

What Is Commercial Lines Insurance?

Commercial lines insurance includes property and casualty insurance products for businesses. Commercial lines Insurance protects businesses from potential losses they can't afford to cover and allows companies to operate when it might otherwise be too risky. Commercial policies may be contrasted with personal lines insurance.

Key Takeaways

  • Property-casualty insurance includes two major categories: commercial lines and personal lines.
  • Commercial lines include insurance products designed for businesses.
  • Risks and hazards covered under commercial lines include malpractice insurance, professional liability, and builder's risk.

Understanding Commercial Lines Insurance

Commercial lines insurance includes commercial auto insurance, workers' compensation insurance, federal flood insurance, aircraft insurance, ocean marine insurance, and medical malpractice insurance. Commercial lines protect businesses against financial losses caused by accidents, lawsuits, and natural disasters.

Available coverages and premium costs vary by business type, size, and location. In 2022, the monthly cost of a business insurance policy ranged from $42 for professional liability to $70 for workers’ compensation.

Each policy is tailored to the type of business covered and the client’s unique needs. A structural engineering firm may need professional liability insurance that protects the company against claims of negligence in creating a building’s plans, performing inspections, and supervising construction. The firm might also purchase general coverage for each project, plus coverage for punitive damages.

Small Business Insurance

A small, home-based business might need one or more commercial lines because homeowners insurance provides limited or no insurance for business activities. A home business might need commercial auto insurance for a company-owned delivery vehicle, worker's compensation insurance for the employee who drives the vehicle, property insurance to cover business goods stolen from the home or vehicle,and liability insurance to protect against claims by any client who claims the company's product harmed them.

Types of Commercial Lines Insurance

Workers' Compensation Insurance

Workers’ compensation is a form of employer insurance coverage that pays benefits to workers who are injured or become disabled as a result of their job.

Debris Removal Insurance

Debris Removal Insurance covers the cost of removing debris after a catastrophic event, such asa fire burningabuilding down. Before rebuilding, the remains of the old building must be removed. Property insurance alone typically won't cover the costsof removing the debris.

Builder's Risk Insurance

Builder's Risk Insuranceinsuresbuildings while under construction.

Glass Insurance

Glass insurance covers broken windows in a commercial establishment.

Inland Marine Insurance

Inland Marine Insurance covers property in transit and other people's property on the business premises. This insurance would cover fire damage to a customer's clothing from a fire at adry cleaning business.

Business Interruption Insurance

Business Interruption Insurance covers lost income and expenses from property damage or loss. If a fire forces a business to close for two months, this insurance would reimburse for salaries, taxes, rents, and net profits that would have been earned during the two months.

Demolition Insurance

Demolition Insurance covers the costs of demolishing a building damaged by aperil,such as a fire or storm. Zoning requirements or building codes may require that a damaged building be demolished rather than repaired. Demolition insurance covers the cost of tearing down undamaged portions of a damaged structure.

Crop-Hail Insurance

Crop-Hail Insurance provides coverage for damage and destruction by hail and fire. Purchased by farmers, it is designed to protect agricultural products while they are still in the field and have yet to be harvested. Crop-hail insurance protects the livelihood of farmers, who are often at the mercy of sudden weather events.

What Factors Determine the Cost of Commercial Lines Insurance?

Factors include the type of business or profession, the number of employees, and the coverage needed for each potential event.

What Is General Liability Insurance?

General liability coverage isa commercial general liability(CGL) insurance that protects businesses from claims of bodily injury, property damage, or personal injury.

What Is Workers' Compensation?

Workers' compensation, or "workers' comp," is agovernment-mandated program and type of employer insurance that provides benefits to workers who become injured or ill on the job or as a result of the job.

The Bottom Line

Commercial lines insurance includes products designed for businesses. Losses covered under commercial lines insurance include malpractice, professional liability, and builder's risk. Home-based businesses may require a commercial line because homeowners insurance commonly provides limited or no insurance for business activities.

Commercial Lines Insurance: Definition, Types, vs. Personal Lines (2024)


What is personal and commercial lines insurance? ›

Personal lines, as the term suggests, include coverages for individuals—auto and homeowners insurance. Commercial lines, which account for about half of U.S. property/casualty insurance industry premium, include the many kinds of insurance products designed for businesses.

How are commercial lines different from personal lines? ›

Personal lines insurance makes it possible to do things such as driving a car and owning a home without risking financial ruin. This is not the same as commercial lines insurance, which provides property and casualty coverage for businesses.

What is a type of commercial insurance? ›

The most common types of commercial insurance are property, liability and workers' compensation. In general, property insurance covers damages to your business property; liability insurance covers damages to third parties; and workers' compensation insurance covers on-the-job injuries to your employees.

What is the difference between personal lines and P&C? ›

The key difference lies in the scope of coverage – P&C covers a broader array, including commercial and organizational needs, whereas personal lines are specifically tailored to cover individuals and families against personal risks.

What is a personal lines insurer? ›

This refers to any insurance policy taken out by an individual in a private capacity as opposed to for business or professional use.

What is the meaning of personal insurance? ›

noun. 1. : insurance of human life values against the risks of death, injury, illness or against expenses incidental to the latter. 2. : insurance purchased for personal or family protection purposes as contrasted with insurance of business property or interests.

What is commercial vs personal? ›

A personal insurance policy typically provides coverage for homes and their contents, whereas a commercial insurance policy is designed to safeguard the structures and assets associated with a business, such as an office, warehouse, or other commercial property.

What is the difference between personal and commercial services? ›

Personal Services: Services provided for individuals. They include services for personal grooming, house maintenance, car repair etc. Commercial Services: Services that provide mainly to businesses such as transport and warehousing, but they may also be available to individuals such as insurance and banking.

What are commercial lines claims? ›

Commercial lines claims are loosely defined as a commercial auto, general liability, umbrella, professional liability, employment practice or any other type of commercial related claim.

What is an example of a commercial insurance plan? ›

Two of the most common types of commercial health insurance plans are the preferred provider organization (PPO) and health maintenance organization (HMO). Most commercial health insurance comes in the form of group coverage, offered by employers.

Is there a difference between commercial and private insurance? ›

In general, commercial auto insurance costs more than personal auto insurance. That's because commercial policies tend to have higher limits, which means more coverage in the event of an accident. A personal auto policy usually covers one person driving their own car, but a commercial policy covers an entire business.

What are the different types of commercial insurance deductibles? ›

Straight Deductible – Subtracts the deductible amount from each separate occurrence of loss. Aggregate Deductible – Limits the maximum an insured must pay in multiple straight deductibles. Basket Deductible – Limits losses from multiple risks, such as commercial property and general liability.

What is a commercial line? ›

Commercial lines are lines of insurance that cover businesses, rather than property belonging to an individual. Policies under this segment are offered to commercial/business entities such as SME/MSME industries, large corporate houses etc.

What is a personal line? ›

A Personal Line of Credit is a loan that you access from time to time. You write special checks or request a transfer to your checking account by phone or online.

What are the personal lines of insurance? ›

Personal Lines are property/casualty insurance products that are designed for and bought by individuals, including homeowners and automobile policies.

What is the difference between personal and commercial insurance coverage? ›

A personal insurance policy typically provides coverage for homes and their contents, whereas a commercial insurance policy is designed to safeguard the structures and assets associated with a business, such as an office, warehouse, or other commercial property.

What does personal line mean in insurance? ›

Personal Lines are property/casualty insurance products that are designed for and bought by individuals, including homeowners and automobile policies.

What is the difference between commercial and self insured plans? ›

Better cash flow: In a self-insured plan, the employer pays the actual cost of care instead of a fixed monthly premium. With a commercially insured plan, the employer pays the same premium even if members use less care one month than predicted.

What are P&C lines of insurance? ›

Property and casualty insurance, commonly referred to as P&C insurance, is a broad term that refers to various types of insurance. In simple terms, it's insurance coverage that helps protect your assets, including the property you own.

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