What Does Personal and Advertising Injury Mean on a General Liability Policy?

When you purchase a business insurance policy, it is likely that you will come across general liability insurance. General liability insurance is one of the most important coverages for business or individual, as it protects against common accidents that can occur at your business.

Personal and advertising injury covers primarily non-physical injury another person or business may suffer due to your business’ everyday operations. This coverage covers claims concerning: 

  • Libel and slander 
  • False arrest 
  • Copyright infringement 
  • Malicious prosecution 
  • Theft of an advertising idea 
  • Wrongful eviction 
  • Invasion of privacy


Most of these apply to many businesses, but some apply to specific situations. Wrongful eviction, for example, primarily applies to issues between landlords and their tenants. A tenant who feels they have been wrongly evicted may file a lawsuit against their landlord. This coverage provides compensation for legal expenses related to such a lawsuit. 

Who Needs Personal and Advertising Injury? 

Essentially every business needs general liability insurance, including personal and advertising injury. These type of claims don’t only come from clients. They can also come from other businesses.  

For example, say you are just starting a retail business. You and an advertising consultant decide on a logo for your business and have it commissioned. 

A week later, a boutique in the same city gives you notice of a claim for copyright infringement. You discover that your logo is very similar to theirs in design aside from the colors. 

General liability can help cover the legal costs associated with this dispute, including defense costs, court fees and settlement expenses.

No matter what you business’ industry, you could face a range of expensive lawsuits concerning personal or advertising injury. 

Another example of a covered accusation is that of malicious prosecution. Say you run an electronics store, primarily selling phones and laptops. There is a customer who you believe has been shoplifting, but you haven’t been able to find proof. One day, they come in and you think you see them take something off the shelf and stuff it in their purse. 

You confront them and they deny stealing anything and the argument grows into yelling. You have security check their purse. As it turns out, they had not stolen anything and were simply putting their wallet back in their purse. 

In this case, the customer could sue for destress and false accusations. 

Be sure to speak with your insurance agent about your personal and advertising injury coverage. 

FAQ’s About What Does Personal and Advertising Injury Mean on a General Liability Policy?

What is personal and advertising injury coverage?

Personal and advertising injury coverage is part of a general liability insurance policy that protects businesses against claims of libel, slander, defamation, copyright infringement, invasion of privacy, and wrongful eviction, among other offenses that can occur in the course of advertising their goods, services, or business.

How does personal and advertising injury differ from bodily injury?

Personal and advertising injury coverage pertains to non-physical damages such as harm to reputation or emotional distress, whereas bodily injury covers physical harm to a person’s body.

Can personal and advertising injury coverage protect against copyright infringement claims?

Yes, this coverage typically includes protection against claims of copyright infringement, provided the infringement was unintentional and occurred in the advertisement of goods, services, or your business.

Is personal and advertising injury coverage included in all general liability policies?

While standard in many general liability policies, the extent of personal and advertising injury coverage can vary. It’s essential to review your policy or speak with your insurance provider to understand the specifics of your coverage.

What types of businesses need personal and advertising injury insurance?

Any business that advertises could potentially face personal and advertising injury claims. This includes businesses of all sizes and types, from retail stores to service providers.

Does personal and advertising injury insurance cover social media posts?

Yes, this coverage can extend to social media posts and other online content, as these are forms of advertising and communication that can lead to claims of libel or defamation.

What is not covered by personal and advertising injury insurance?

Intentional and malicious acts, knowing violation of someone’s rights, and material published with knowledge of falsity are typically not covered under personal and advertising injury insurance.

How can a business minimize the risk of personal and advertising injury claims?

Businesses can minimize risks by implementing best practices for advertising content, such as reviewing for potential copyright issues, avoiding defamatory statements, and respecting privacy rights.

What should I do if my business faces a personal and advertising injury claim?

Immediately notify your insurance provider if you face a claim. They will guide you through the process of handling the claim, which may include providing legal defense and covering settlement costs up to the limits of your policy, depending on the circumstances and coverage. 

Are there limits to personal and advertising injury coverage

Yes, like most insurance coverages, personal and advertising injury coverage has limits that determine the maximum amount the insurance company will pay for a covered claim. These limits can be per occurrence or aggregate and are specified in your policy. It’s important to understand these limits to ensure that you have adequate coverage for your business needs.

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