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Essential coverages to meet client demands
Architects and Engineers are an essential part of our growing economy. The important service opens up potential for miscalculation of a design, loss of client information, or other faulty work. Many detailed risks could cause an engineering firm to fall completely, and proper coverage can keep you out of court for unforseen issues.
The essential coverage for an engineer, Professional Liability covers your engineering firm from being liable should an error or omission occur that leads to the financial loss of the client. This insurance provides you with extra protection when someone is unhappy with the results of your advice or services.
General Liability insurance is designed to protect your engineering firm against property damage and bodily harm to third parties. This covers your business when someone who isn't a part of your business is harmed by your business. The most common is slip and fall claims inside your business premises.
As an engineer, your business relies on computers to create projects and relay all communication. You may also have your customer's sensitive information like credit card and bank information saved in your network. This data is at risk of being stolen, a huge risk to your business. Cyber Liability protects your business in the event of data theft or information mismanagement.
Your firm's property, regardless if you own or lease, can be at risk of property damage from theft, fire, storm or natural disasters. This could cause loss from business interruption and could be devastating to your business finances. Commercial Property insurance will cover the building where your business resides and the property inside it from the aforementioned cases.
When you have employees, there's a good chance that you need this engineering insurance especially if you meet the state-mandated minimum requirements. This insurance will provide wage replacement and medical benefits to employees in exchange for the mandatory relinquishment of the worker's right to sue the employer for negligence.
When your current business plan doesn't have enough coverage for your engineering firm, you'll need Umbrella Insurance. This insurance keeps you protected when a claim exceeds your current coverage. For example, you have a Property Insurance of a $500,000 limit but a fire causes $550,000 in property damage the Umbrella Insurance will make up for the difference.
Professional Liability insurance is all about protecting the engineer's professional services risk. Many scenarios exist where engineers are in need of insurance like claims of poor project management, inadequate design or specification, incorrect certification and these can pose great financial risk when their client files a lawsuit. Insurance is the safety net to make sure you financially survive a lawsuit, win or lose.
Engineers deal with higher-stake risks than most other businesses because their work can affect the safety of their clients and the people around them. A common source of lawsuits against engineers is miscommunication. When clients expect one thing and engineers expect another, the stage for a claim is set. Engineers are liable for contracted work done. They are legally responsible for mistakes and oversights that can occur.
For starters, General Liability is often required when renting an office space. It costs around $400-$500 annually. To protect your professional service, Professional Liability (Errors & Omissions) insurance is needed, which can start as low as $1,000/year. Depending on the nature of your services the cost can climb above $10K annually. When you drive a car for business purposes, Commercial Auto insurance is recommended with a cost varying depending on vehicle and coverage requests.
Following industry best pracitces and staying up to date with the profession's newest ways to work is a good start. Implementing clear contracts and setting customer expectations also helps. After that, a comprehensive insurance program can keep you in business when the rainy days come.
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