Home Inspection Insurance Alaska Policy Information
Home Inspection Insurance Alaska. If you are a home inspector, you may not realize that you are at risk for litigation from unhappy clients. You do what you can to provide the best possible inspection results to your clients, but no one is free from the potential to be sued.
Home inspectors provide non-invasive dwelling inspections to identify deficiencies. An acceptable inspection is often a final condition of a home purchase and may be requested by the lender, the real estate agent, or the prospective buyer. Insurers may also request an inspection. After the inspection is completed, a report is prepared for the client with details and recommendations for remediation or correction.
The inspector does not warrant the work or offer advice on the purchase of the home. The inspection is visual only. The inspector is not required to enter closed areas, walk on the roof, or enter an attic or a crawl space. Regulation of inspectors, certification and educational requirements vary by state. Three major associations encourage professional ethics and standards of practice. Inspectors can belong to one or more of these associations.
Mistakes happen, and human errors are made. If a homeowner believes that you have made a mistake, then it is possible for you to be sued. This is why home inspection insurance Alaska is so important. Home inspectors run a high risk for being involved in litigation, particularly when realtors are handling requests for clients based on realtor leads.
Home inspection insurance Alaska protects your business from lawsuits with rates as low as $97/mo. Get a fast quote and your certificate of insurance now.
Home Inspection Businesses Need Liability Insurance
In the past, there have been thousands of lawsuits against home inspectors for so-called soft inspections. In these inspections, the claim usually alleges that the inspector is biased toward selling the house on the behalf of the lead-generating realtor, so they doubt the accuracy of the inspection's findings.
In Alaska, a couple brought suit against Housemaster of America, Inc., accusing the company of consumer fraud after they purchased a home that the company had inspected only to find that the home had bad wiring, flooring problems, and a leaky roof. The couple was awarded $37K.
Since a home is one of the biggest purchases that most people will ever make, home inspectors can be subject to major liability if their inspection results are less than accurate. With home inspection insurance Alaska for your home inspection business, you can edeoy protection from major financial loss that might otherwise leave your business in ruins.
Home Inspector Facts
Home inspectors usually operate as sole proprietors; 63 percent of inspectors work for themselves. Around 57 percent of inspectors have no non-inspector staff that work with them. When you are a sole proprietor, any claims that are launched against you end up being your responsibility. If an award is given to the claimant, it's up to you to pay it. You must also pay your own legal costs.
General Liability Insurance for Home Inspectors
All entrepreneurs and small business owners need general liability insurance. This type of insurance gives your business financial protection for claims of ideury or damage that results from the service that you provide to clients.
Errors occur when inspecting a home; everyone is subject to human error, regardless of how well-prepared and trained you are. For instance, it is possible that when you place a ladder on the side of a client's home, you may accidentally cause a window to break. To ensure that you have protection, you need liability insurance to cover all the potential scenarios and the damage that these scenarios can cause. In performing inspections, unintended property damage and claims of bodily ideury are not uncommon, so mitigating that risk with liability insurance makes a lot of sense.
This type of insurance pays out for the cost of any property repair and third-party medical costs. In addition, it covers the cost of hiring an attorney to represent you in defense of your actions, and it can pay awards and judgments ultimately ruled against you up to the limits that you select in the policy. Speak with a knowledgeable agent to find out how much home inspection insurance Alaska you need to be fully protected.
Do You Need Business Owners Insurance (BOP)?
It is oftentimes the case that home inspectors need business owners insurance, which is known by the acronym BOP. This type of home inspection insurance Alaska combines the most important coverages into one larger policy. A BOP policy is a good choice for the smallest businesses - those with revenues of less than $5 million and less than 100 people on staff. It is also a good option for firms where there are multiple employees and several home inspectors, since these businesses often need additional coverage to ensure business assets are fully protected.
With a BOP policy, your AK home inspector business generally edeoys:
- General liability insurance. General liability insurance that protects the business against claims of property damage or personal ideury. This is the foundation of the BOP policy.
- Property insurance. If damage occurs to property that you lease or own, including your office building, warehouse, garage, or storage facility, property insurance kicks in and pays for replacement of tools and other items or structures.
- Business income insurance. If your home inspector business is interrupted, this policy covers lost income and provides for operating expenses for a particular period of time, usually a year.
- Errors and Omissions insurance. Also called Professional insurance. An E&O policy protects you against mistakes you make in crafting inspection reports. It also provides for your legal defense in defending yourself against claims of errors or omissions that result in litigation, such as claims related to testing and inspecting for septic and sew, radon, lead paint, or mold inspections.
- Business auto insurance. This is an essential insurance for vehicles used in the course of carrying out business activities.
Work with a AK licensed agent to find out how to protect your home inspection business from liability. A seasoned agent can help you find the best quote for the level of home inspection insurance Alaska you need based on your risks and individual needs. Agents can also help you compare quotes with multiple insurers to find the right fit for your business.
Alaska Home Inspector's Risks & Exposures
Premises liability exposures are limited at the firm's office due to lack of public access. Off-premises exposures are at the sites of homes being inspected. Hazards include property damage, theft and perhaps invasion of privacy. There must be training, guidelines, and procedures concerning appropriate off-site behavior. Customer complaints should be dealt with promptly and decisively.
Professional liability exposures are generally light as the contracts for home inspection services stipulate that inspections and reports are not warranties and are based on visual inspection only. Inappropriate and undisclosed business relationships with real estate agents could lead to allegations of impropriety and nonobjective findings.
Workers compensation exposures arise from office operations and site work at customers' premises. Work done in the office is done on computers. Potential injuries include eyestrain, neck strain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and similar cumulative trauma injuries that can be reduced with ergonomically designed workstations. Travel may be extensive.
Off-site exposures may include climbing on ladders or working on uneven terrain in unfamiliar environments. Trips and falls are common. The inspector may be attacked by unrestrained animals while performing home inspections. Since inspectors often work alone, injuries may go unnoticed, which can lead to delayed response and delayed first aid. Inspectors may be injured in vehicle accidents.
Property exposures are generally limited to those of an office, although there may be some incidental storage or an area for meetings. Ignition sources include wiring, heating and air conditioning systems, wear, and overheating of equipment. Storage of paper should be in fireproof cabinets.
Crime exposures are from employee dishonesty, including theft of property from the clients' homes. If cash payments are accepted, there is a money and securities exposure. Hazards increase without proper background checks and monitoring procedures. All ordering, billing, and disbursement should be separate duties with regular audits taking place.
Inland marine exposures are from accounts receivable if the inspector bills real estate agencies, computers, special floater, and valuable papers and records for contracts and clients' information. Inspectors' primary equipment consists of a camera, clipboard, and measuring wheel, but may include ladders, flashlights, and specialized testing equipment, such as radon detectors, taken to inspection sites. Some may also carry their computers with them to record their observations and findings as they walk through the property.
Business auto exposures are moderate as inspectors travel to inspection locations. These are usually vans or pickups that can transport the inspector's equipment. If vehicles are provided to employees, there should be written guidelines regarding the personal and permitted use of the vehicle. All drivers must have appropriate licenses and acceptable MVRs. Vehicles must be maintained, and records kept in a central location.
Alaska Economic Data, Regulations And Limits On Commercial Insurance
If you're an entrepreneur who is thinking about starting a business in Alaska, it's important to have a basic understanding of the state's overall economy before you set up shop. Regardless of how high-quality the products and services you are planning on offering may be, if the location where you open your organization doesn't offer a target market that your products and services will appeal to, chances of success are slim. Furthermore, if a workforce isn't available to support your business, you'll have a hard time staying afloat.
With that said, it's important for business-minded individuals who are thinking about starting a company in Alaska to familiarize themselves with the state's economy; it's also a good idea to have an understanding of the commercial insurance requirements.
Following is an overview of economic trends and commercial insurance policies that business owners are required to carry in The Last Frontier.
Economic Trends For Business Owners In Alaska
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in Alaska was 6.1% in December of 2019. While that's significantly higher than the national unemployment rate, which was 3.4% in December, 2019, it's lower than it was one year prior, when the rate of unemployment was 6.5% in December of 2018. Though the workforce is growing slower than it is in other states, economists do predict that the rate will continue to decline in the coming years.
Despite Alaska's remoteness and cold climate, it's actually a great start to start a business. According to the Tax Foundation, Alaska is the second most tax-friendly state for business owners in the United States, as there's no individual income tax or state sales tax. Additionally, Alaska has the second highest rate of new business owners, as well as the second highest percentage of available employees (as per 2016).
As in most states, the best spots to start a business in Alaska are the state's biggest cities and the surrounding areas. This includes Anchorage, Juneau, and Fairbanks. Other key areas that are seeing a boost in business development in recent years include Homer, Sitka, Prudhoe Bay, and Ketchikan.
While there are several industries that are experiencing growth in The Last Frontier, specific sectors thrive more than others. Businesses that are related to the following industries are booming in AK:
- Fishing, which is also one of the largest contributors to the state's economy.
- Mining, which provides more than 4,500 jobs in Alaska.
- Petroleum, which is responsible for 34% of jobs in the state. In fact, Prudhoe Bay is North America's largest oil field.
- Tourism is the second largest private sector employer in the state. Each year, millions of people from around the globe travel to Alaska to marvel at the numerous natural wonders that can be found here.
Commercial Insurance Requirements In Alaska
The Alaska Division of Insurance regulates insurance in AK. Alaska mandates very few forms of insurance coverage by law. They enforce worker's compensation.
Alaska requires you to have worker's compensation insurance if you hire even one employee on a regular basis. This includes part-time employees, family members, minors, and immigrant employees. It is not required for independent contractors or domestic employees, though you should check to make sure any contractors you have are true contractors, and not employees.
Alaska also requires all business-owned vehicles to be covered by commercial auto insurance. Other types of business insurance that business owners should carry depend on the specific industry.
Additional Resources For Real Estate Insurance
Learn about small business real estate insurance coverages including liability and commercial property policies for realtors, mortgage companies and more.
- Corporate Office Insurance
- Home Inspection Insurance
- Mortgage Broker Insurance
- Property Manager Insurance
- Real Estate Agents Insurance
- Real Estate Appraiser Insurance
For real estate professional liability policies, the insurance company agrees to pay amounts the insured is legally obligated to pay as damages because of a wrongful act. However, this insurance must cover the wrongful act.
The insurance company not only has the right to defend any suit brought against the insured, it also has a duty to do so. That duty, which can be very expensive, does not apply to suits brought for wrongful acts that this insurance does not cover.
What type of coverage is available for real estate agents who provide insurance advice? Any claim related to the sale or purchase of insurance is not covered. In addition, there is no coverage for any recommendations or advice regarding insurance or any failure to procure or maintain appropriate insurance.
Who is considered an insured under the Real Estate Agents and Brokers Professional Liability Policy? The named insured is an insured. The named insured is the entity or individual listed on the declarations. There can be multiple named insureds.
Any entity listed in the application as a predecessor organization is an insured. The named insured must be the entity's majority successor of interest with respect to the predecessor organization's financial assets and liabilities.
Are Real Estate Brokers Professional Liability policies written on an "occurrence" or a "claims-made" basis? Insurance is written on a claims-made basis, requiring that a claim must be reported to the insurer during the policy period or during the extended reporting period.
Minimum recommended small business insurance coverage: Business Personal Property, Business Income with Extra Expense, Employee Dishonesty, Money and Securities, Accounts Receivable, Computers, Valuable Papers and Records, General Liability, Employee Benefits Liability, Professional Liability, Umbrella Liability, Hired and Non-owned Auto Liability & Workers Compensation.
Other commercial insurance policies to consider: Building, Earthquake, Equipment Breakdown, Flood, Computer Fraud, Forgery, Cyber Liability, Employment-related Practices Liability, Business Auto Liability and Physical Damage abd Stop Gap Liability.
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