CGL Policy Coverages and Exclusions

CGL insurance coverage

In an earlier post we listed the five sections that a CGL (Commercial General Liability) policy form contains:  (1) coverages and exclusions; (2) who is an insured; (3) limits of insurance; (4) conditions; and (5) definitions.  This post takes a deeper dive into the first section, coverages and exclusions.

A standard ISO (Insurance Services Office) form CGL policy provides coverage for three things:  bodily injury and property damage (coverage A); personal and advertising injury (coverage B); and medical payments (coverage C). 

Coverage A – Bodily Injury and Property Damage

“Bodily Injury” is typically defined to mean bodily injury, sickness or death sustained by a person. “Property damage” is typically defined as physical injury to tangible property, including loss of use of that property, as well as loss of use of tangible personal property that is not physically injured. Electronic data is not tangible property.

For bodily injury or property damage to be covered, it must happen during the policy period, and be caused by an “occurrence,” which is defined as an accident, including continuous or repeated exposure to substantially the same general harmful conditions.

Coverage B – Personal and Advertising Injury

This section provides coverage for things such as false arrest, detention or imprisonment; malicious prosecution; wrongful eviction, entry or invasion; libel, slander, or disparagement of goods, products or services; written publication of material that violates a person’s right of privacy; and using someone else’s advertising idea in your ads.

Coverage C – Medical Payments

This section provides for payment of medical expenses for bodily injuries caused by an accident on your premises or because of your operations. These payments are made regardless of fault.

After providing these broad grants of coverage, the CGL policy then takes numerous items of coverage away via the next part, the “exclusions.” That will be the subject of a future post.

About the Authors

Alan M. Ruley

Alan Ruley is a seasoned civil trial and appellate lawyer. He represents clients in a wide variety of disputes in federal court, state court, and the North Carolina Business Court, focusing primarily on business litigation, intellectual property, insurance coverage and recovery, banking and employment.
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Allison Parker ediscovery attorney

Allison Buckner Parker

Allison is on a leave of absence from Bell, Davis & Pitt and the day-to-day practice of law. Allison Parker is a litigator, focusing primarily on insurance coverage litigation for corporate policyholders and business litigation.
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