Architects Insurance Policy Information
Architects Insurance. As an architect, there's nothing more satisfying than seeing your vision progress from a concept to a draft to a permanent structure that people will use and enjoy for decades. But of course, no architecture project is without its risks: a single mistake can result in costly delays or even structural problems that can have devastating consequences. And in our litigious society, lawsuits have become commonplace.
Architects design buildings and other structures, such as bridges, dams, entertainment complexes, highways, and marine facilities. They may design renovations for existing buildings. The architect is hired by a client to prepare plans and construction documents, including all the detailed specifications. The details include the type and grade of construction material and the size, space, location, and grade of land.
The final plan must meet the client's requirements and budget while being aesthetically pleasing. While architects often use the services of engineers, they may also be trained as engineers to confirm or develop the specifications of detailed portions of a project, such as rules, codes, environmental impact, and life safety regulations.
Some municipalities require any renovation work to meet historic preservation construction techniques. Once construction begins, the architect often consults and monitors the operation, and is available for clarification, advice, and updates or modifications to the original plan. Landscape architects, in addition to assisting landscape contractors, may also advise city planning departments.
Architects insurance coverage not only pays judgment costs, it can prepare you for a lawsuit by paying defense costs.
Architects insurance protects your firm from lawsuits with rates as low as $37/mo. Get a fast quote and your certificate of insurance now.
- How Much Does Architects Insurance Cost?
- What Type Of Business Insurance Do Architects Need?
- Do Architects Need Professional Liability Insurance?
How Much Does Architects Insurance Cost?
The average price of a standard $1,000,000/$2,000,000 General Liability Insurance policy for small architect businesses ranges from $37 to $59 per month based on location, type of projects, payroll, sales and experience.
What Type Of Business Insurance Do Architects Need?
General Liability: This provides coverage for two types of claims: property damage and bodily harm to third-parties. The claims come from clients, subcontractors or employees. For uninsured firms, such claims can result in dire financial consequences. Architects insurance provides cover for your legal liability in the event of third party property damage (e.g. ladder falls onto a car) and/or bodily injury to a member of the public.
Commercial Property: Helps protect the place where you do business - whether it's a building in an office park or an historic home you've converted to an office - and the tools and equipment you use to conduct business, like drafting and design equipment, model building tools, and furniture - whether you own or lease them.
Workers Compensation: workers comp protects your firm against the cost of compensation arising from claims made by employees or contractors as a result of illness or injury at work. Workers compensation insurance is required by labor law in most states for any non-owner employees.
Umbrella Insurance: Also called excess liability insurance, is exactly what it sounds like; it's a safety umbrella to cover and protect you in the event of an emergency. An emergency in this case would be any tragedy that would cost your firm beyond your existing coverage limits. This architects insurance policy extends the limits of some of your underlying g liability policies with a single premium.
Individually extending the limits of multiple insurance policies can significantly increase each premium you pay for those plans. However, when you invest in umbrella insurance, you pay a single, smaller premium and typically receive more coverage than you would have otherwise. Umbrella insurance will cover the remainder of any settlement above and beyond what your current policy will pay.
Do Architects Need Professional Liability Insurance?
One of the biggest risks you have as an architect is that of mistakes that you might make. This could be a simple mistake whereby miscommunication was involved, but you are held responsible for any property, physical or financial damage it caused.
Such mistakes will easily dissatisfy your clients who will not hesitate to file a lawsuit. If that happens and you don't have architects insurance as part of your insurance package, you could be facing financial disaster.
Professional liability insurance, also referred to as errors and omissions, covers the cost of defending your business against allegations of professional negligence (such as giving your client incorrect or wrongful advice) and if unsuccessful, the cost of damages awarded against you. Examples of incidences where you may need professional liability coverage are:
- Misinterpretation of renderings: Your designer misinterprets the renderings and orders expensive materials that can't work with your plans. This upsets the client and he demands you reimburse him for your professional negligence.
- Negligence on design of industrial new build: Design failure of industrial distribution warehouse. The building is incapable of housing a refrigeration plant because of incorrect design of the internal load bearing roof.
- Inadequate supervision: Architects instructed to give specifications and supervise the renovation works of a church roof. After the contractor went 'bust', the roof failed following heavy rains and it was subsequently discovered that work done by contractor was not up to mark. You are still held liable for inadequate supervision.
When searching for an architects insurance policy:
- Make sure you read your policy documents carefully and that you understand any exclusions that may apply.
- Try to find out what level of professional indemnity insurance your clients might expect before you buy. This cover can be very important for architects, with standard requirements as well as special project measures to consider.
- Insurers sell errors and omissions insurance on a claims-made basis, meaning the policy must be in effect at the time that someone makes a claim against it. So even when a building is complete, it's wise to carry your policy for at least a few more years - ex clients may make claims at any time).
While insurance can't eliminate the challenges involved in your daily work, it can help you if a customer blames you for problems that occur within the project. The right architects insurance plan, from standard business insurance to liability coverage and professional indemnity insurance for architects, is very valuable.
Architect's Risks & Exposures
Premises liability exposure is limited due to lack of public access at the office location. If clients visit the premises, they must be confined to designated areas. To prevent slips, trips, or falls, all areas accessible to clients must be well maintained with floor covering in good condition.
The number of exits must be sufficient, and be well marked, with backup lighting in case of power failure. Parking lots and sidewalks need to be in good repair with snow and ice removed, and generally level and free of exposure to slips and falls. Off-site exposures include job sites and clients' offices. There should be policies and training as to off-site conduct by employees.
Professional liability exposure is extensive. The types of jobs accepted require varied levels of knowledge and expertise and determine the potential for loss. For example, bridge design will require a different type of knowledge than designing a one-family dwelling. The loss potential should a bridge collapse could be catastrophic due to the possibility of bodily injury and property damage.
The exposure increases if the firm fails to conduct thorough background checks to verify employee's accreditations, education, and licensing, including verification of continuing education requirements, permit clerical workers to do tasks that only professionals should handle, or if error checking procedures are ignored or are inadequate. Very serious losses may result from failure to document decisions and actions or to secure client approval. Customers can suffer financial loss due to construction delays and cost overruns.
Workers compensation exposure will vary based on the type of job. Since work at the office is done on computers, potential injuries include eyestrain, neck strain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and similar cumulative trauma injuries that can be addressed through ergonomically designed workstations.
Some firms have significant off-site exposures, primarily to inspect job sites and projects underway, which may include bridge work, oil derricks, and housing developments. Architects can be injured off sites by slips and falls, falling objects, falls from heights, electrical panels, and wiring, construction machinery, flying debris, noise, and automobile or aviation accidents. Protective equipment may be required.
Property exposure is generally limited to that of an office, although there may be some incidental storage or an area for meetings. Ignition sources include electrical wiring, heating and air conditioning systems, wear, and overheating of equipment. Computers and other electronic equipment may be targets for theft.
Crime exposure is from employee dishonesty. Hazards increase without proper background checks, along with monitoring procedures and securing of all records to prevent unauthorized access. All job duties, such as ordering, billing and disbursing, should be separate and reconciled on a regular basis. Audits should be performed at least annually.
Inland marine exposures involve accounts receivable if the firm offers credit, computers, special floaters for equipment taken to job sites, and valuable papers and records for clients' information, completed architectural designs, and drawings in progress. The computers are extremely sophisticated and specific for each job and may have custom programming. Power failure and power surges are potentially severe hazards. All software and data should be on backup disks and stored off site. Paper drawings should be stored in fireproof cabinets.
Business auto exposure is generally limited to hired and non-owned and rental exposure. 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.
Commercial Insurance And Business Industry Classification
- SIC CODE: 8712 Architectural Services, 0781 Landscape Counseling and Planning
- NAICS CODE: 541310 Architectural Services, 541320 Landscape Architectural Services, 541340 Drafting Services
- Suggested ISO General Liability Code(s): 92663, 91805
- Suggested Workers Compensation Code(s): 8601, 8603
Description for 8712: Architectural Services
Division I: Services | Major Group 87: Engineering, Accounting, Research, Management, And Related Services | Industry Group 871: Engineering, Architectural, And Surveying
Establishments primarily engaged in providing professional architectural services. Establishments primarily engaged in providing landscape architectural services are classified in Agriculture, Industry 0781. Establishments primarily engaged in providing graphic arts and related design services are classified in Industry 7336, and those providing drafting services are classified in Industry 7389.
- Architectural engineering services
- Architectural services
- Engineering services: architectural
- House designers
Types Of Small Business Insurance - Requirements & Regulations
Perhaps you have the next great idea for a product or service that you know will appeal to your local area. If you've got a business, you've got risks. Unexpected events and lawsuits can wipe out a business quickly, wasting all the time and money you've invested.
Commercial insurance steps in to help you manage these risks, avoiding a situation which requires you to pay exorbitant costs out-of-pocket.
Insurance is so important to proper business function that both federal governments and state governments require companies to carry certain types. Thus, being properly insured also helps you protect your company by protecting it from government fines and penalties.
Small Business Insurance Information
In the business world, there are many risks faced by company's every day. The best way that business owners can protect themselves from these perils is by carrying the right insurance coverage.
The The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is the U.S. standard-setting and regulatory support organization. Through the NAIC, state insurance regulators establish standards and best practices, conduct peer review, and coordinate their regulatory oversight.
Commercial insurance is particularly important for small business owners, as they stand to lose a lot more. Should a situation arise - a lawsuit, property damage, theft, etc. - small business owners could end up facing serious financial turmoil.
According to the SBA, having the right insurance plan in place can help you avoid major pitfalls. Your business insurance should offer coverage for all of your assets. It should also include liability and casual coverage.
Types Of Small Business Insurance
Choosing the right type of coverage is absolutely vital. You've got plenty of options. Some you'll need. Some you won't. You should know what's available. Once you look over your options you'll need to conduct a thorough risk assessment. As you evaluate each type of insurance, ask yourself:
- What type of business am I running?
- What are common risks associated with this industry?
- Does this type of insurance cover a situation that could feasibly arise during the normal course of doing business?
- Does my state require me to carry this type of insurance?
- Does my lender or do any of my investors require me to carry this type of policy?
A licensed insurance agent or broker in your state can help you determine what kinds of coverages are prudent for your business types. If you find one licensed to sell multiple policies from multiple companies (independent agents) that person can often help you get the best insurance rates, too. Following is some information on some of the most common small business insurance policies:
|Business Insurance Policy Type||What Is Covered?|
|General Liability Insurance||What is covered under commercial general liability insurance? It steps in to pay claims when you lose a lawsuit with an injured customer, employee, or vendor. The injury could be physical, or it could be a financial loss based on advertising practices.|
|Product Liability Insurance||What is covered under product liability insurance? I pays an injured party's settlement or lawsuit claim arising from a defective product. These are usually caused by design defects, manufacturing defects, or a failure to provide adequate warning or instructions as to how to safely use the product.|
|Commercial Property Insurance||What is covered under business property insurance? General liability policies don't cover damages to your business property. That's what commercial property insurance is for. It protects all of the physical parts of your business: your building, your inventory, and your equipment, giving you the funds you need to replace them in the event of a disaster. If you work from home, you might consider a Home Based Business Insurance policy instead.|
|Business Owners Policy (BOP)||What is covered under a business owners policy (BOP)? This is a policy designed for small, low-risk businesses. It simplifies the basic insurance purchase process by combining general liability policies with business income and commercial property insurance.|
|Commercial Auto Insurance||What is covered under business auto insurance? This type of insurance covers automobiles being used for business purposes. This could include a fleet of business-only vehicles or a single company car. In some cases it might cover your car or your employee's car while they're being used for business. These policies have much higher limits, ensuring you can cover your costs if one of these vehicles gets into an accident.|
|Commercial Umbrella Policies||What is covered under commercial umbrella insurance? This type of policy is a sort of "gap" insurance. It covers your liability in the event that a court verdict or settlement exceeds your general liability policy limits.|
|Liquor Liability Insurance||What is covered under liquor liability insurance? It covers bodily injury or property damage caused by an intoxicated person who was served liquor by the policy holder.|
|Professional Liability (Errors & Omissions)||What is covered under professional liability insurance? This type of business insurance is also known as malpractice oe E&O. It covers the damages that can arise from major mistakes, especially in high-stakes professions where mistakes can be devastating.|
|Surety Bond||What is covered under surety bonds? Bonding is a contract where one party, the SURETY (who assures the obligee that the principal can perform the task), guarantees the performance of certain obligations of a second party, the PRINCIPAL (the contractor or business who will perform the contractual obligation), to a third party, the OBLIGEE (the project owner who is the recipient of an obligation).|
Who Needs General Liability Insurance? - Virtually every business. A single lawsuit or settlement could bankrupt your business five times over. You might also need this policy to win business. Many companies and government agencies won't do business with your company until you can produce proof that you've obtained one of these policies.
Business Insurance Required by Law
If you have any employees most states will require you to carry worker's compensation and unemployment insurance. Some states require you to insure yourself even if you are the only employee working in the business.
Your insurance agent can help you check applicable state laws so you can bring your business into compliance.
Other Types Of Small Business Insurance
There are dozens of other, more specialized forms of small business insurance capable of covering specific problems and risks. These forms of insurance include:
- Business Interruption Insurance
- Commercial Flood Insurance
- Contractor's Insurance
- Cyber Liability
- Data Breach
- Directors and Officers
- Employment Practices Liability
- Environmental or Pollution Liability
- Management Liability
- Sexual Misconduct Liability
Whether you need any or all of these policies will depend on the results of your risk assessment. For example, you probably don't need an environmental or pollution policy if you're running an IT company out of a leased office, but you would need data breach and cyber liability policies to fully protect your business.
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
- Attorney Lawyer
- Business Consulting
- Corporate Wellness
- Court Reporter
- Debt Collection Agency
- Detective Agency
- Electrical Engineering
- Environmental Consultant
- Executive, Career & Life Coaching
- Executive Search Firm
- Expert Witness
- Financial Services
- Financial Planner
- HR Consultant
- Mediator - Arbitrator
- Medical Billing
- Music, Drama & Dance Therapy
- Office Machine Repair & Maintenance
- Project Management
- Temporary Staffing
- Tax Preparer
Let's face reality. People today are claims conscious, resulting in a significant share of malpractice lawsuits against professionals.
Liability resulting from the rendering of or the failure to render professional services is excluded in most liability coverage forms. This means that a policy covering a account's or lawyers' office will cover liability arising out of the maintenance or use of the premises, but specifically exclude liability arising out of the rendering of a professional service or the omission of such a service.
In addition to the professions in which actual physical or mental injury may be caused to clients, certain other professions are exposed to claims for malpractice.
Claims may be brought against lawyers, accountants, architects, and similar professional persons for errors or omissions in their professional capacity. Errors & Omissions insurance pays damages that might be awarded to a plaintiff alleging professional negligence.
Professional liability policies are made available to such risks, and these policies provide essentially the same protection as is afforded under the physicians, surgeons or dentists professional liability policy.
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.