6 Ways to Protect Professional and Specialty Services Businesses
Insurance is like the eject button on a fighter plane. You know you need to have it…
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You may be wondering: who has time to understand all the subtleties of business insurance?
7 Things to Know Before Buying Insurance for Your Service Company
Insurance is complicated. So we have put together a list of things to keep in mind…
Our insurance offerings include a number of policy types that can help protect your professional or specialty services business.
General Liability for Professional & Specialty Services
General Liability Insurance is the baseline coverage for businesses: across industries and services, most businesses can benefit from purchasing General Liability coverage, which protects against allegations from third parties that your business caused personal injury or property damage.
When a customer or other third party makes such a claim in a legal setting (i.e., brings a lawsuit against your business), your General Liability Insurance kicks in to pay for the cost of your legal defense (which might include lawyer's fees and court costs) and for any judgment, fee, or settlement you're found liable to pay.
It's important to note, however, that General Liability coverage does not protect you in the event that a client claims that your work caused a financial loss. For coverage of your professional performance, you will need to invest in Errors and Omissions (aka Professional Liability) Insurance.
Professional Liability Insurance / Errors & Omissions Coverage for Professional & Specialty Services
Professional Liability Insurance (Errors and Omissions Insurance) offers financial protection for your business in the event that your performance or the work you do is challenged in court. If, for example, one of your clients accuses you of failing to perform your duties adequately, of being negligent, or of otherwise causing them financial loss, your Errors and Omissions Insurance would protect you.
In addition to covering the cost of mounting a legal defense of the charges against you, your E&O coverage would pay for any damages for which you were found liable, up to the limits of your policy.
If a suit alleging negligence on your part should be brought against your business, E&O Insurance can save you a tremendous amount of money, as E&O settlements can be expensive. In addition to protecting you financially from a disgruntled company, Errors & Omissions Insurance can help ensure that you're able to return to normal business operations as quickly as possible following the interruption that a lawsuit can cause.
Even if you have never been sued, an Errors and Omissions policy might be a good idea. After all, it only takes one lawsuit from one dissatisfied client to set your company back by tens of thousands of dollars or more.
If your business does not qualify for a BOP, you may still want to invest in Property Insurance, which protects your business assets from damage and theft. If you rely on a computer or printer, for example, you can purchase Property Insurance to ensure that any interruptions in your ability to use that equipment won't correspond with a loss of productivity and revenue for your business.
When you speak with your insureon agent about the Property Insurance that makes the most sense for your business, be sure to ask whether to invest in a policy that provides the full replacement value for your assets or one that insures your possessions only against their current (aka depreciated) value. While the latter may save you money on your premium, it will also yield lower payout amounts if and when you need to file a claim.
Workers' Compensation Insurance for Professional & Specialty Services
Whether you're the only person in your business or you're the head of a small army of contractors and employees, you might benefit from Workers' Compensation Insurance. In fact, depending on the laws in your state, you may be required to have Workers' Comp Insurance, even if you are the sole proprietor of your professional or specialty services business.
Workers' Compensation coverage offers protection in the event that one of your employees becomes injured or sick while on the job and sues your business to recover the costs associated with that injury or illness. Depending on the case, your Workers' Compensation Insurance could cover the cost of defending yourself against injury claims in court and the cost of any settlements or judgments your business is required to pay, which might include medical expenses and lost income for your employee.
When you speak with insureon's professional and specialty services experts about your Workers' Compensation Insurance, be sure to ask whether your policy will cover contract workers (those classified as 1099s) as well as full- and part-time employees. While your state may not require you to cover everyone, you should at least be aware of the coverage your policy offers.
Excess Liability Insurance / Umbrella Coverage for Professional & Specialty Services
One way professional and specialty services businesses can expand their insurance coverage is to invest in Umbrella Insurance (also known as Excess Liability Insurance). Umbrella Insurance works by providing coverage beyond what some of your other policies offer.
For example, if your General Liability Policy has a $500,000 limit and you're found liable for $750,000 expenses, your Umbrella Insurance would kick in to cover the extra $250,000. The alternative, if you did not have Umbrella Insurance in place, would be to pay the additional $250,000 out of your personal assets, a feat that is difficult or impossible for many owners of professional and specialty services businesses.
One major benefit of Umbrella Insurance is that it is a fairly inexpensive way to expand your coverage. Additionally, a single Umbrella policy can be used to extend the coverage limits of several of your insurance policies.
Umbrella Insurance cannot, however, extend the coverage included on an Errors and Omissions Insurance policy.
Work with a contract whenever possible.
Setting up clear expectations for deliverables, conflict resolution, and other aspects of a client project in writing is an excellent way to ward off any of the potential disputes that could lead to a lawsuit.
Don’t rely on your homeowner’s insurance for coverage.
Many professional and specialty services business owners mistakenly believe that, if they work out of their home, they can rely on their homeowner’s or renter’s insurance to cover anything that happens to their business equipment. More often than not, however, homeowner’s insurance is not adequate to cover business losses.