Spilling Coffee Intentionally

Liability insurance can protect you against the unexpected harm you might cause others. Therefore, it often doesn't cover acts committed on purpose. If you run a business, you have to avoid deliberate harm, for obvious reasons. What is liability insurance's exclusions for intentional acts?

Employers must maintain an ethical workplace. That means understanding that neither customers nor insurers will tolerate inappropriate actions.

What Liability Insurance Does Cover

Most businesses have general liability insurance. If you harm someone else, that person might expect you to repay them for the harm you caused. What if someone slips and falls in your business? This was an accident you likely couldn't foresee. So, you can often use coverage to compensate them for their medical bills.

Still, most liability insurance policies only protect you against unexpected accidents. This places a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of the business owner. You must do everything to prevent intentional damage. If you don't, your business might harm someone and not have liability insurance protection for the damage.

The Intentional Or Anticipated Acts Exclusion

Insurance coverage doesn't protect you from every incident of damage. If it did, the insurance marketplace would be incredibly costly. Therefore, exclusions against intentional acts exist in most general liability policies.

Intentional acts are those committed deliberately. That means someone thought through an action before performing it. The results likely won't prove to be an accident. So, insurers will likely hold the business responsible for any resulting damage. In this case, liability insurance likely won';t pay for these damages.

Let's look at an example of an excluded intentional act. One day, a restaurant employee and a customer get into an argument. The employee throws hot coffee onto the customer, burning them. The customer sues the restaurant and the employee for their medical bills. This is different than if the employee accidentally spills coffee on someone's lap.

In this case, who has coverage might prove tricky. The employee committed a malicious act. Therefore, the restaurant's liability coverage will likely not protect the employee. In some cases, the coverage will still protect the restaurant owner. That's because they didn't influence the employee's decision to harm the customer. However, that's not a hard rule. The employee still might wind up without coverage, and that could still put the business in a bind.

So, do what you can to prevent any intentional or anticipated damage you might cause to clients. Institute safety precautions and codes of conduct within your operation. And don't forget to obtain an airtight liability insurance policy, for any unanticipated damage that might occur.

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