Real Estate Agency Business Insurance
Real Estate Agency Business Insurance
Insurance risks of starting a real estate agency:
Are you a real estate agent and looking to start a real estate agency? If so, it's very important that you cover yourself as a business owner from potential lawsuits by purchasing business insurance. But even before you purchase insurance, you must first have a solid business plan that outlines your risks as a business owner and how you plan to cover those risks. Not all of your risks as a business owner can be covered simply by purchasing a basic insurance policy. You must first know what your risks are.
To identify the risks of your business you can simply consult with an attorney or even an insurance professional. The risks for a real estate agency can be very wide because of the many different exposures involved with your business activities. Before paying costly fees for an attorney's advice, we can at least help you to identify some of the potential claims that could arise and how your insurance coverage would protect you in the event of a claim. But first, let's look at some common controls and procedures you can put in place to better protect yourself from a legal and contractual standpoint.
Risk management for a real estate agency:
There are a number of risk management controls you can put in place:
- Privacy Statement
- Information Security Policy (you can find some great templates for Information Security policies on SANS website)
- Customer Contract Revision Provisions
- Standard Customer Contracts
- Standard Agreements for Vendors
- Recall Plan
- Vendor Certification Process
- Quality Control Program
- Obtaining Customer signatures on each phase of the project.
But just having all these controls in place isn't enough. Sure they'll help you from preventing potential claims or lawsuits, but these days you can pretty much be sued by anyone for any reason. Next, we'll help you to identify some of the potential claims that could arise and how your insurance coverage would protect you in the event of a claim. We'll first look at the common types of business insurances. Then, we'll look at potential claims and how these different business insurances can protect you.
Types of business insurance for a real estate agency:
Below is a list of common types of business insurances:
- General Liability Insurance. This insurance covers your business against claims for bodily injury and property damage. When adding property coverage to a General Liability policy, this is often referred to as a Business Owner Policy or BOP insurance. There are many facets to BOP insurance. General Liability protects your small business from injury or damage caused by your employees cause or injury to 3rd parties while on your premises. Often a BOP will include products and completed operations liability insurance which helps to protect from injury or damage done by your products or completed operations once they are out of your control. There are many other coverages that can be afforded by having a business owner policy like commercial auto insurance, commercial property insurance and even loss of income insurance.
- Commercial Auto Insurance. As a business owner, you need the same kinds of insurance coverages for the car you use in your business as you do for a car used for personal travel -- liability, collision and comprehensive, medical payments (known as personal injury protection in some states) and coverage for uninsured motorists. While the major coverages are the same, a business auto policy differs from a personal auto policy in many technical respects.
- Workers Compensation Insurance. Most states require that an employer has Workers Comp in place for their employees. Workers Comp covers the medical and lost wage costs (similar to disability) when an employee suffers a work-related injury or illness. There is also another part of Workers Comp that doesn't come up often in discussion which is Employers Liability Insurance.
- Professional Liability Insurance. Professional Liability insurance is also referred to as Errors and Omissions (E&O Insurance) or Medical Malpractice Insurance. This insurance provides coverage in the event that a business is held legally liable for damages which are cause by your improper advice or negligence. Malpractice insurance is very important in the medical field.
Insurance claim examples for a real estate agency:
Below are some likely claims examples and how your business insurance coverage would protect you in the event of a claim:
- General Liability Insurance claims- Let's say that one day a customer or a vendor is in your office for a routine visit. The night before the visit, your cleaning crew left a very slippery floor and didn't use non-skid wax. The customer is walking around your premises and they trip and fall. They are severely injured and are rushed to the emergency room! Having General Liability Insurance can protect you by paying for legal defense if the customer or vendor decided to bring a lawsuit against you for their injuries.
- Property Insurance claim- Let's say that one night your circuit breaker malfunctions and starts an electrical fire. The fire spreads throughout your location burning your possessions and the building. If you have Property Insurance then the damages for these damages are covered. They will typically cover not only the cost to replace your damaged content but also the cost to clean the debris from the location.
- Worker's Compensation Insurance claim- Let' go back to the first claim example for General Liability insurance and say that your cleaning crew left a very slippery floor the night before work and didn't use non-skid wax. One of your employees slips on the slippery floor and gets injured. Workers Compensation insurance can pay for the employee's medical costs and lost wages from being out of work.
Real Estate Agency business insurance is just one of the many business types we provide business insurance services for.