Answering Service Insurance Policy Information
Answering Service Insurance. Telephone answering services monitor and record telephone calls or messages and then forward those calls or messages to the client. Services are often provided on a 24/7 basis. These services generally provide service to niche markets where a live operator or service person is required, such as for physicians, plumbers, and auto towing services. Call centers may operate in a central location, or in remote locations with employees monitoring phones from their homes.
Whether in government, medical, ecommerce, telecommunications, property management, or the service industry, telephone answering services are an important component of business and customer service, leading to better customer experiences and higher productivity for workers. However, running an answering service presents you to certain risks such as the potential liability if you don't respond in a timely manner and appropriately to customer emergencies.
You can be slapped with court charges for giving inappropriate advice and for sloppy message forwarding (not calling right away, not dating and timing the calls, calling the wrong doctor, transposing a number, or garbling a message). That's why answering service insurance is essential for your firm.
Answering service insurance protects your business from lawsuits with rates as low as $37/mo. Get a fast quote and your certificate of insurance now.
Below are some answers to commonly asked answering service insurance questions:
- What Is Answering Service Insurance?
- How Much Does Answering Service Insurance Cost?
- Why Do Answering Services Need Insurance?
- What Type Of Insurance Do Answering Services Need?
- What Does Answering Service Insurance Cover & Pay For?
What Is Answering Service Insurance?
Answering service insurance is a type of insurance that covers businesses that provide answering services, such as telephone answering, messaging, and dispatch services. This type of insurance typically includes coverage for liability, property damage, and business interruption.
It may also include coverage for errors and omissions, as well as cyber liability. Answering service insurance is designed to protect businesses from financial losses that may result from errors, accidents, or other unexpected events.
How Much Does Answering Service Insurance Cost?
The average price of a standard $1,000,000/$2,000,000 General Liability Insurance policy for small answering service businesses ranges from $37 to $49 per month based on location, size, payroll, sales and experience.
Why Do Answering Services Need Insurance?
Answering services need insurance for several reasons:
Liability protection: Answering services handle sensitive information from clients, such as personal contact information and medical records. Insurance can protect the company from any potential liability that may arise from mishandling this information.
Professional liability: Answering services provide a professional service to clients. If an error is made in the course of providing this service, professional liability insurance can protect the company from any resulting legal action.
Property damage: Answering services typically have equipment and offices that can be damaged in the event of a natural disaster or other incident. Insurance can cover the cost of repairs or replacement.
Business interruption: Answering services rely on their equipment and technology to operate. Insurance can cover the loss of income if the service is temporarily unable to operate due to an incident.
Overall, insurance protects answering services from financial loss due to unforeseen events and helps them to continue providing their services to clients.
What Type Of Insurance Do Answering Services Need?
Answering services face various liability risks. The following is a listing of the answering service insurance coverages:
Professional Liability - Professional liability insurance, also known as errors and omissions (E&O), covers claims of negligence and/or poor quality work. Lawsuits may arise if answering center attendants fail to deliver important messages on time, if they deliver inaccurate messages or if they provide incorrect information that causes the caller to incur losses. E&O insurance protects employees from claims by disgruntled customers and pays the fees incurred in defending against such claims.
Per Occurrence" & "Aggregate" liability limits: Your "Per Occurrence," or "Per Claim," limit refers to the total amount the insurance company will pay per incident during the answering service insurance policy term. Your "Aggregate" limit is the total amount the insurance company will pay for multiple claims over the course of one policy term (which is usually one year).
Commercial General Liability - This answering service insurance policy protects your firm in case of third party claims, such as bodily injury or property damage. For example, the common "slip-and-fall" claim would be covered by your general liability policy.
General liability insurance is often considered to be the core coverage, particularly because you regularly interact with customers. You may also have a contract, like a loan or a lease, requiring that you have this coverage.
Business Property - This answering service insurance policy protects your building and its contents, including computers, office equipment, furniture and all of your property - whether it is owned or leased - if it is damaged by fire, smoke, theft, vandalism or some other covered peril.
You need this coverage to protect your expensive phone and communications equipment as well as all the other contents of your office space.
When choosing a property insurance policy, it's imperative that you consider all of your options. The monthly premium you pay is only one part of the equation. You must think about which risks your firm might be exposed to and how you can make financially smart moves to protect your interests.
Business Interruption - Have you ever stopped to consider how your firm would survive should it suddenly come to a grinding halt? If a fire, storm or theft meant having to rebuild it (potentially from scratch), how would you survive financially?
With business interruption add on your answering service insurance, you will be covered for the loss of income, as well as increased expenses of running your firm as a result from interruption caused by material damage events.
Business Owners Policy - A Business Owner's Policy (BOP) is an affordable insurance package that bundles general liability, commercial property and business income. Basically, BOP Insurance protects you by covering some of the most common risks it faces, including; Lawsuits over defamation, copyright infringement, slander, etc. and damage to your firm's property.
You can benefit from this policy because it covers many basic risk exposures you face, and is often cheaper than buying general liability and property insurance separately.
Workers' Compensation Insurance - Workers comp in mandatory in most states for any non-owner employees. Your staff's in-office responsibilities come with their own set of risks. Because they sit behind a computer screen all day, they could develop repetitive motion injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
Workers comp can provide the necessary funds to cover immediate medical attention, such as a visit to the ER, if an employee is injured at work. It also compensates them for lost income after they recover.
Employment Practices Liability Insurance (EPLI) - EPLI protects your firm against the high cost of lawsuits due to discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination, and other potential charges stemming from employment practices.
This coverage can cover your firm from the cost of legal defense, settlements, and other court fees when faced with an allegation for failing to provide a fair, acceptable environment for employees to work.
Commercial Crime - Commercial crime insurance policies protect you from losses resulting from business-related criminal activities. This type of insurance protection covers money, merchandise, and other property loss as a result of embezzlement, robbery, theft, forgery, or other crime as stated in the answering service insurance policy.
Commercial Umbrella - You may want to consider purchasing an umbrella policy that will provide you excess coverage over and beyond what you have purchased with your primary general liability policy, business auto, and workers compensation answering service insurance policies.
Answering Service's Risks & Exposures
Premises liability exposure is minimal due to lack of public access to the premises. Much of the operation occurs via phone or other forms of communication. The exposure increases if service occurs at clients' premises as employees will have access to clients' property.
Errors and omissions exposure varies on the type of client. Should errors occur in the failure to transmit an accurate and timely message of a non-emergency situation, the result may be only a complaint or a very minor claim. However, if the operation responds to calls to police, fire, medical or 911-type operations or suicide hotlines, the errors and omissions concerns increase significantly due to the potential for physical injury, death, or property damage.
Workers compensation exposure is limited to office hazards. As work is done on computers and other electronic equipment, potential injuries include eyestrain, neck strain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and similar cumulative trauma injuries that can be addressed through ergonomically designed workstations. Additional exposures arise from employees working from their homes.
Property exposures usually are limited to that of an office. Ignition sources include electrical wiring, heating and air conditioning equipment, wear, and overheating of equipment. All equipment should be in good condition to prevent electrical fires.
Crime exposure comes from employee dishonesty. Hazards increase in the absence of background checks and monitoring procedures. Billing and disbursement should be separate duties. Audits should be performed at least annually.
Inland marine exposures include accounts receivable if the service offers credit, computers and valuable papers and records for customers' and callers' information. Recordkeeping of calls received is critical and may require custom software, including a database and the ability to fax or email messages to the client as needed.
Business auto exposure is limited to hired and non-owned autos and is very light. If vehicles are provided to employees, there should be written procedures in place regarding personal use by employees and their family members. All drivers must have appropriate licenses and acceptable MVRs. Vehicles must be maintained, and records kept in a central location.
What Does Answering Service Insurance Cover & Pay For?
Answering services can be sued for various reasons, such as breach of contract, negligence, errors and omissions, and violation of privacy laws. Insurance can protect these businesses by providing financial coverage in the event of a lawsuit. Here are some examples:
Breach of contract: If an answering service fails to provide the agreed-upon services in a contract with a client, the client may sue for damages. In this case, professional liability insurance can help cover the legal fees, court costs, and any settlement or judgment that may arise from the lawsuit.
Negligence: An answering service may be sued for negligence if they fail to meet the standard of care in performing their duties. For example, if an operator fails to relay an urgent message or takes down incorrect information, leading to financial loss for the client. Errors and omissions insurance (E&O) can help cover the costs of defending against such claims and any damages awarded to the plaintiff.
Errors and omissions: This type of lawsuit may arise when an answering service makes a mistake or omission that causes harm to a client. For example, if the answering service fails to notify a doctor about a patient's critical condition, the doctor might sue for malpractice. E&O insurance can help cover the legal fees, court costs, and any settlement or judgment in this situation.
Violation of privacy laws: Answering services handle sensitive information, and if they fail to protect this information or improperly disclose it, they may be sued for violating privacy laws. For example, if an operator discloses confidential patient information to an unauthorized party, the patient might sue for damages. Cyber liability insurance can help cover the costs of defending against such claims and any damages awarded to the plaintiff.
In all these cases, insurance can help protect the answering service by providing financial support to cover legal fees, court costs, and any settlement or judgment that may arise from the lawsuit. It's important for answering services to maintain adequate insurance coverage to protect their business and minimize financial risks.
Commercial Insurance And Business Industry Classification
- SIC CODE: 7389: Business Services, Not Elsewhere Classified
- NAICS CODE: 517210 Wireless Telecommunications Carriers (Except Satellites), 517410 Satellite Telecommunications, 517110 Wired Telecommunications Carriers
- Suggested Workers Compensation Code(s): 7600 Telecommunications Co. - Cable TV, or Satellite - All Other Employees & Drivers, 8901 Telecommunications Co.: Office or Exchange Employees & Clerical
7389: Business Services, Not Elsewhere Classified
Division I: Services | Major Group 73: Business Services | Industry Group 738: Miscellaneous Business Services
7389 Business Services, Not Elsewhere Classified: Establishments primarily engaged in furnishing business services, not elsewhere classified, such as bondspersons, drafting services, lecture bureaus, notaries public, sign painting, speakers' bureaus, water softening services, and auctioneering services, on a commission or fee basis. Auctions of used cars and agricultural commodities, such as livestock and produce, are classified in Wholesale Trade.
- Agents and brokers for authors and nonperforming artist
- Apparel pressing service for the trade
- Appraisers, except real estate appraisers
- Arbitration and conciliation services
- Artists' agents and brokers, except performing artists
- Auctioneering service on a commission or fee basis
- Authors' agents and brokers
- Automobile recovery service
- Automobile repossession service
- Automobile shows, flower shows, and home shows: promoters of
- Bartering services for businesses
- Batik work (handprinting on textiles)
- Bottle exchanges
- Bronzing baby shoes
- Business brokers (buying and selling business enterprises)
- Charge account service (shopping plates) collection by individual
- Check validation service
- Cloth: cutting to length, bolting, or winding for textile distributors
- Contractors' disbursement control
- Convention bureaus
- Convention decorators
- Copyright protection service
- Correct time service
- Cosmetic kits, assembling and packaging
- Cotton inspection service, not connected with transportation
- Cotton sampler service
- Coupon redemption service, except trading stamps
- Credit card service (collection by individual firms)
- Decoration service for special events
- Demonstration service, separate from sale
- Directories, telephone: distribution on a contract or fee basis
- Divers, commercial
- Drafting service, except temporary help
- Drawback service, customs
- Drive-a-way automobile service
- Embroidering of advertising on shirts, etc.
- Engrossing, e.g., diplomas and resolutions
- Exhibits, building of: by industrial contractors
- Field warehousing, not public warehousing
- Filling pressure containers (aerosol) with hair spray, insecticides, etc.
- Fire extinguishers, service of
- Firefighting service, other than forestry or public
- Flagging service (traffic control)
- Floats, decoration of
- Florists' telegraph service
- Folding and refolding service: textile and apparel
- Fundraising on a contract or fee basis
- Gas systems, contract conversion from manufactured to natural gas
- Handtool designers
- Handwriting analysis
- Hosiery pairing on a contract or fee basis
- Hotel reservation service
- Identification engraving service
- Inspection of commodities, not connected with transportation
- Interior decorating consulting service, except painters and paper
- Interior designing service, except painters and paper hangers
- Inventory computing service
- Labeling bottles, cans, cartons, etc. for the trade: not printing
- Laminating of photographs (coating photographs with plastics)
- Lecture bureaus
- Lettering service
- Liquidators of merchandise on a contract or fee basis
- Mannequin decorating service
- Map drafting service
- Mapmaking, including aerial
- Message service, telephone answering except beeper service
- Metal slitting and shearing on a contract or fee basis
- Meter readers, remote
- Microfilm recording and developing service
- Mounting merchandise on cards on a contract or fee basis
- Music distribution systems, except coin-operated
- Notaries public
- Packaging and labeling service (not packing and crating)
- Paralegal service
- Parcel packing service (packaging)
- Patent brokers
- Patrol of electric transmission or gas lines
- Photogrammetric mapping service (not professional engineers)
- Photographic library service, still
- Photography brokers
- Pipeline and power line inspection services
- Playwrights' brokers
- Post office contract stations
- Presorting mail service
- Press clipping service
- Printed circuitry graphic layout
- Process serving service
- Produce weighing service, not connected with transportation
- Product sterilization service
- Promoters of home shows and flower shows
- Racetrack cleaning, except buildings
- Radio broadcasting music checkers
- Radio transcription service
- Recording studios on a contract or fee basis
- Redemption of trading stamps
- Repossession service
- Restaurant reservation service
- Rug binding for the trade
- Safety inspection service, except automotive
- Salvaging of damaged merchandise, not engaged in sales
- Sampling of commodities, not connected with transportation
- Scrap steel cutting on a contract or fee basis
- Shoe designers
- Showcard painting
- Shrinking textiles for tailors and dressmakers
- Sign painting and lettering shops
- Solvents recovery service on a contract or fee basis
- Speakers' bureaus
- Sponging textiles for tailors and dressmakers
- Styling of fashions, apparel, furniture, and textiles
- Styling wigs for the trade
- Swimming pool cleaning and maintenance
- Switchboard operation of private branch exchanges
- Tape slitting for the trade (cutting plastics, leather, etc. into widths)
- Tax collection agencies: collecting for a city, county, or State
- Tax title dealers: agencies for city, county, or State
- Telemarketing (telephone marketing) service on a contract or fee basis
- Telephone answering, except beeper service
- Telephone solicitation service on a contract or fee basis
- Textile designers
- Textile folding and packing services
- Time-share condominium exchanges
- Tobacco sheeting service on a contract or fee basis
- Tourist information bureaus
- Trade show arrangement
- Trading stamp promotion and sale to stores
- Trading stamp redemption
- Translation service
- Water softener service
- Weighing foods and other commodities not connected with
- Welcoming service
- Window trimming service
- Yacht brokers
Answering Service Insurance - The Bottom Line
Since it is critical for answering services to be covered with the appropriate insurance coverage - contact an experienced business insurance broker to discuss your options.
Additional Resources For Professional Services Insurance
Get informed about small business professional services insurance, including Professional liability, aka errors and omissions (E&O insurance), that protects your business against claims that a professional service you provided caused your client financial loss.
- Answering Service
- Armored Car
- Attorney Lawyer
- Background Music Services
- Business Consulting
- Chemical Engineers
- Civil Engineers
- Claims Adjuster
- Commercial Laundries
- Commodity Broker
- Corporate Wellness
- Court Reporter
- Credit Bureaus
- Debt Collection Agency
- Detective Agency
- Diaper Services
- Electrical Engineering
- Environmental Consultant
- Executive, Career & Life Coaching
- Executive Search Firm
- Expert Witness
- Financial Planner
- Financial Services
- Funeral Directors
- HR Consultant
- Inspection Bureaus
- Insurance Agents & Brokers Insurance
- Mediator - Arbitrator
- Medical Billing
- Music, Drama & Dance Therapy
- Office Machine Repair & Maintenance
- Piano Tuners
- Project Management
- Safety Consultants
- Speakers Bureaus
- Tax Preparer
- Temporary Staffing
- Title Abstractors
- Valet Parking
- Specialty Consultants
- Specialty Service Business
The professional services industry, which includes occupations such as lawyers, doctors, accountants, and architects, often deals with sensitive and complex issues that carry a high risk of liability. These professionals are expected to provide their clients with expert advice and guidance, and any mistakes or oversights can result in significant financial consequences for both the client and the professional. This is where insurance comes into play.
Business insurance provides protection against the financial repercussions of potential mistakes or accidents that may occur while providing professional services. For example, a lawyer may make an error in their legal representation that leads to a financial loss for their client. Without insurance, the lawyer would be personally responsible for covering the cost of this loss. Insurance helps to protect professionals from these types of financial burdens and allows them to focus on providing high-quality services to their clients.
In addition to protecting against financial losses, commercial insurance can also provide legal defense for professionals facing legal action as a result of their work. This can be especially important for professionals in high-stress or high-risk fields, such as doctors or architects, who may be at a higher risk of being sued for professional negligence.
Overall, the professional services industry needs insurance to protect against financial losses and legal action, ensuring that professionals can continue to provide high-quality services to their clients without the added stress and burden of potential financial consequences.
Minimum recommended small business insurance coverage: Business Personal Property, Employee Dishonesty, 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, Business Income with Extra Expense, Earthquake, Equipment Breakdown, Flood, Computer Fraud, Forgery, Money and Securities, Special Floater, Cyber Liability, Employment-related Practices Liability, Business Auto Liability and Physical Damage and Stop Gap Liability.