How Do I File a General Liability Insurance Claim (and What Happens Next)?

So you have to file a General Liability insurance claim. Don’t add insult to (bodily) injury—keep it simple with this guide to navigating the claims process.


Whether you’re a contractor, a photographer, or a cleaner, you know that the risk of accidents on the job is a professional hazard. That’s why you took out a General Liability policy in the first place, right?

Of course, knowing that you need insurance and actually needing it are two separate things. Dealing with the aftermath of an accident on the job, whether it involves bodily injury or property damage, is an inherently unpleasant experience—but the process of filing the claim itself shouldn’t be.

With that in mind, we’ve compiled our customers’ most frequently asked questions concerning the General Liability claims process in this guide. Essentially, we’re looking to provide an answer to this common refrain: how do I file a claim, and what happens next?

What is the difference between a first party and third party General Liability claim?

A first party insurance claim is made by the policyholder, while a third party insurance claim is made by someone other than the policyholder or the insurance company. When it comes to General Liability, which covers property damage and bodily injury to third parties, claims typically fall into the category of third party claims. For example, if you are a handyman working on a client’s property and your ladder tips over, breaking a window, your client can file a claim to be reimbursed for the damage.

When should I report a General Liability claim?

If someone has sustained an injury that requires medical attention or a crime has occurred that requires filing a police report, these should be your first priorities.

Once those issues have been addressed, you should report your claim as soon as reasonably possible. This will ensure your insurer is able to defend you properly and manage the claim against you. Many states require a response to a lawsuit within a specific period of time (often 20 days) or you risk a default judgment.

How do I report a General Liability claim?

All Commercial General Liability policies arranged by Thimble are underwritten by Markel Insurance Company, a Fortune 500 company rated A-Excellent by A.M. Best for financial strength. As opposed to other insurance companies that assume risk for their own policies and may be slow to pay out or not around at all once a claim is filed, our coverage is backed by Markel—which means that our customers are better protected against risk.

To report a claim, email or call the Markel Claims hotline at 800-362-7535 or fax 855-662-7535. You can report a claim 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Once you’ve reported your claim, you can rest assured that you will be in good hands during this process. The Markel claims handling team is highly experienced and committed to providing superior service to every customer.

What materials do I need to submit for my General Liability claim to be processed?

At the time of the incident, you should get the names, addresses, and phone numbers of everyone involved. Record the exact location and time that the incident occurred, and take pictures of any property damage. Take steps to preserve the damaged property, making repairs when possible, and put measures in place to avoid any further damage.

More specifically, you will be asked to provide the following information with your new claim notice:

  • Your name, email address, and phone number
  • Name of the policy holder (individual or business)
  • Policy number
  • Claimant name (if you are not the claimant)
  • Date and location of loss
  • Description of the loss
  • Current location of insured items, if known
  • All pertinent documentation necessary to properly evaluate the claim, such as police reports, photos, etc.

More information about filing your claim can be found on Markel’s website.

How long does it generally take before a General Liability claim is settled?

The timeline for processing a General Liability claim can vary widely based on the individuals or organizations involved and the nature of the accident. However, Markel strives to respond promptly to every submitted claim, and you can expect timely and transparent communication while your claim is processed.

During this time, it’s important to take a few precautionary measures that will ensure the best outcome for all involved parties:

  • Don’t admit responsibility for the accident or injury in question.
  • Don’t discuss the event or share documents pertinent to the claim with anyone other than your insurance agent or authorized representative, Markel associates, or law enforcement officials.

What are some reasons that my claim would be denied?

There are a number of reasons that a claim might be denied:

  • The claim arises from activities that are excluded under your policy.
  • The claim arises out of work that took place outside of the policy period.
  • The claim involved expected or intentional acts on the part of the insured.

Additionally, if it is found that the premium was unpaid or there is evidence of fraud, these factors could prevent you from being paid out for the claim. See all applicable exclusions and conditions within your policy for more details on how claims are evaluated.

If my claim is met, how long will it take for me to receive reimbursement?

Claim payments are made immediately upon confirmation of coverage, claim facts, and documentation in support of the damages and/or injuries.

What are some examples of paid claims?

Past examples of paid claims include damage to a cell phone during a film shoot, when a volunteer was being directed by the insured and fell. In another instance, a contractor was shoveling snow during a storm and damaged the customer’s garage door. These would both be considered third party claims, as they were made by someone other than the insured.

Our editorial content is intended for informational purposes only and is not written by a licensed insurance agent. Terms and conditions for rate and coverage may vary by class of business and state.

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