Auctioneer Insurance Policy Information
Auctioneer Insurance. Although most people will undoubtedly let their minds wander to fast-paced bid-calling when they imagine an auctioneer, the truth is that auctioneers and auction houses do much more than lead bids.
Auctioneers sell customers' goods to the general public or a specialized clientele through a bidding process, with the highest bidder purchasing the goods. Auctions may be conducted for antiques, collectibles, electronics, farm animals or equipment, household goods, land, machinery, motor vehicles, or to dispose of property from a bankruptcy or estate.
There may be a minimum bid set for particular goods. The auctioneer earns a commission based on the amount of sales. Some auctioneers conduct auctions at their own facility.
Other auctioneers travel to a customer's chosen site to conduct their operations. Some offer pick-up services to sellers or delivery services to successful buyers.
These professionals will specialize in a particular area - such as jewelry, antique furniture, fine art, or livestock - and spend the bulk of their professional careers not bid-calling, but valuing items for auction, growing their client base, and following the fluctuations of the market.
Auctioneers have an exciting and ever-changing job, and owning and operating an auction house can certainly be an extremely profitable endeavor. There is no question, on the other hand, that auctioneers also face a lot of risk and uncertainty.
Because the threat of unforeseen circumstances, potentially accompanied by devastating financial consequences, always looms large, it is vital for auctioneers to protect their interests. To find out what types of auctioneer insurance will help you do that, keep reading.
Auctioneer insurance protects your auctioneering 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 auctioneer insurance questions:
- What Is Auctioneer Insurance?
- How Much Does Auctioneer Insurance Cost?
- Why Do Auctioneers Need Insurance?
- What Type Of Insurance Do Auctioneers Need?
- What Does Auctioneer Insurance Cover & Pay For?
What Is Auctioneer Insurance?
Auctioneer insurance is a type of professional liability insurance designed for auctioneers. It provides protection against financial losses arising from errors, omissions, or negligence in the course of conducting an auction. The coverage typically includes protection for auction damages, such as lost or damaged items, theft, and legal expenses.
This insurance is important for auctioneers as it helps them to manage the risks associated with their business, such as liability for harm to people or property, and to provide their clients with the peace of mind that they are protected in the event of an unexpected loss.
How Much Does Auctioneer Insurance Cost?
The average price of a standard $1,000,000/$2,000,000 General Liability Insurance policy for small auctioneering businesses ranges from $37 to $59 per month based on location, type of goods auctioned, revenue, claims history and more.
Why Do Auctioneers Need Insurance?
Auction houses will always do their best to provide excellent service, including ensuring that auctions proceed smoothly and that the value of commodities to be auctioned is correctly ascertained. Like any other business, however, they can fall victim to perils they could not have seen coming, and did not prepare for.
In such cases, massive - and even potentially bankrupting - costs can follow. Investing in the top-notch insurance is an essential building block in an auctioneer's risk management plan.
Your physical assets face are vulnerable to countless perils. An auction house could be struck by an act of nature, such as an earthquake, hurricane, wildfire, or serious storm, damaging not only the premises but also valuable assets belonging to third parties.
Theft, vandalism (in the most serious cases including arson), and accidental fires are other threats.
Other dangers lurk in the form of liability risks. An employee or a client could commit fraud. You may accidentally damage a valuable item as you take care of it prior to an auction.
A visitor could suffer an injury on your premises, or someone may file a lawsuit alleging that you carried your duties out negligently, by making valuing errors, for instance.
All these perils could cause severe financial peril, unless a comprehensive auctioneer insurance plan that will shoulder a significant portion of the costs is in place.
Auction houses should acquire not just the basic insurance policies they are obliged to, but also consider what further coverage would actively benefit their business.
What Type Of Insurance Do Auctioneers Need?
The fact that the modern insurance market offers niche coverage for almost any peril means that you will certainly be able to protect yourself.
It also, on the other hand, makes acquiring the insurance you need a complex process to navigate. The types of goods you auction, the location of your auction house, your number of employees, and the size of your operation all influence what kinds of insurance you will require.
Speak to a commercial insurance broker for insurance advice tailored to your unique circumstance, but be aware that auctioneering businesses will generally require at least these types of auctioneer insurance coverage:
- Commercial Property - This form of coverage protects your auction house if it is hit by perils like acts of nature, theft, or vandalism. It covers costs associated with damage to your premises, but also damage to or loss of other physical assets, such as computers and furniture.
- Commercial General Liability - If a third party were to be injured on your premises, or if your company's activities were to accidentally cause damage to someone else's property, this form of auctioneer insurance coverage helps you shoulder the legal costs that follow.
- Errors And Omissions - This type of insurance helps you deal with expenses that can arise in case of allegations that you performed your professional duties negligently. Keep in mind that an auctioneer may be sued even if the claim later proves to be groundless.
- Commercial Crime - Designed to cover expenses related to property loss due to crimes such as robbery or fraud, commercial crime insurance is essential for auctioneers.
- Workers' Compensation - Auction houses with employees will further require workers comp. In the event that an employee is injured in the workplace, their medical bills and any lost income will be covered.
Auction houses should also ask their commercial insurance broker about cyber insurance to protect their electronic data, and commercial auto insurance for their professional vehicles, among other types of auctioneer insurance coverage.
Because every auctioneer will have specific insurance needs, it is important to opt for an in-depth consultation.
Auctioneer's Risks & Exposures
Premises liability exposure depends on where the auction is held, who is responsible for the site, and who sponsors the auction. Exposures are minimal if the auctioneer conducts sales from premises owned by others. If auctions are held at the auction company's own location, prospective buyers will visit the premises.
There should be good lighting, and adequate aisle space with debris removed regularly to prevent slips and falls. All goods should be kept on easily reached clothing rods or shelves, so customers do not pull items down on themselves. Flooring should be in good condition with no frayed or worn spots on carpet and no cracks or holes in flooring. Steps and uneven floor surfaces should be prominently marked. Sufficient exits must exist and be well marked, with backup systems in case of power failure.
Purchased items are often immediately carried to buyers' vehicles, posing slip and fall hazards. 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.
Some items may be attractive nuisances for children. Parking and traffic control pose additional hazards due to potentially large numbers of buyers entering and leaving the premises with their purchases.
Animal auctions pose additional hazards to buyers due to the unpredictable nature of animals. There should be a disaster plan in place for unexpected emergencies.
Personal injury exposures are from allegations of discrimination, invasion of privacy, and apprehending and detaining shoplifters, which may result in claims of assault and battery, false arrest or detention, unauthorized or intrusive searches, or wrongful ejection from the premises.
Shoplifting procedures must be fully understood and utilized by all employees.
Products liability exposure of an auctioneer is normally low as items are generally sold on an "as is" basis. The exposure increases if a guarantee or warranty is made during the auction or the auction company reconditions items for sale.
Professional liability exposure comes from the promises, commitments, and warrants the auctioneer makes during the auction process. In many cases, the auctioneer must assist in determining the value of clients' goods based on a review of titles, appraisals, or descriptions. Representing services as an appraisal professional can result in liability should a buyer find that the item purchased was not as represented by the auctioneer.
Workers compensation exposure from back injuries is high as goods can be packaged or unpackaged, picked up, moved several times during the auction, moved to buyers' vehicles, or delivered to buyers. There should be conveying devices available to assist with heavy lifting. Continual standing can result in musculoskeletal disorders of the back, legs, or feet.
Trips, slips, and falls are common. If goods are not in mint condition, the auctioneer may clean or renovate items to get the highest bid, resulting in exposures to flammable or toxic fumes.
Work done on computers can result in eyestrain, neck strain, carpal tunnel syndrome and similar cumulative trauma injuries that can be addressed through ergonomically designed workstations.
Travel to auction sites presents over-the-road exposures and lack of control over the seller's premises hazards. Animal auctions pose additional hazards to workers due to the unpredictable nature of animals. In any retail business, hold-ups may occur. Employees should be trained to respond in a prescribed manner.
Property exposures can be high for auctions conducted on premises due to the wide variety of items being held for sale. Ignition sources include electrical wiring and heating and air conditioning equipment.
If the items are stored in the building, the quantity of combustible items may create a heavy fire load. Items should be separated by sufficient aisle space to prevent fire from spreading and allow for access by firefighters.
Heat-producing items need to be separated from highly combustible items. All flammable liquids should be stored in cabinets until sold at auction and picked up by the successful bidder. Equipment for fire detection and control must be maintained in proper working order.
Theft may be a concern if high-valued items are auctioned. Appropriate security controls should be taken, including physical barriers to prevent access to the premises after hours and an alarm system that reports directly to a central station of the police department.
Inland marine exposures include accounts receivable if the auction offers credit, bailees customers, computers, and valuable papers and records for customers' and sellers' information. The bailee's customer loss potential to the goods in the care, custody, and control of the auctioneer can be extensive.
The contract between the client and the auctioneer must spell out the responsibilities of providing insurance coverage. If pick up or delivery services are offered, goods in transit coverage will be needed.
Special packaging and handling may be required for highly breakable or damageable items while being transported to and from auction sites or while being delivered to buyers. Backup copies of all records, including computer files, should be made and stored off-premises.
Crime exposure is from employee dishonesty and money and securities. Background checks should be conducted on all employees handling money. There must be a separation of duties between persons handling deposits and disbursements and reconciling bank statements. Regular audits are important for verification.
The money and securities exposure during an auction can be very high, as bidders may pay in cash as well as credit. Receipts should be provided. Adequate security must be provided during financial transactions. Money should be regularly collected from cash drawers and moved away from the collection area, preferably to a safe on premises.
Regular deposits should be made throughout the day to prevent heavy cash buildup.
Business auto exposure may be limited to hired and non-owned. If the auctioneer travels, transports goods for sale or sold items, or holds automobile auctions, the exposure increases. All drivers who transport goods or drive vehicles at an automobile auction must have a valid commercial license and acceptable MVRs.
Vehicles must be maintained and records kept at a central location. If vehicles are provided to employees, there should be a written procedure regarding personal use by employees and their family members. Unusual or odd-sized items must be securely packaged and tied down for transport.
What Does Auctioneer Insurance Cover & Pay For?
Auctioneers may face various legal challenges and potential lawsuits in the course of their business. Common reasons for lawsuits include misrepresentation, breach of contract, negligence, and failure to disclose. Insurance policies such as professional liability insurance or errors and omissions insurance can help protect auctioneers in these situations. Here are some examples:
Misrepresentation: If an auctioneer inaccurately describes an item's condition or value, a buyer may sue for misrepresentation. Insurance can help cover the cost of legal defense and any damages awarded to the buyer, allowing the auctioneer to resolve the dispute without incurring excessive financial burden.
Breach of contract: Auctioneers may be sued for failing to fulfill contractual obligations, such as not delivering purchased items on time or in the agreed-upon condition. Insurance can help cover the cost of legal defense, as well as any damages awarded to the aggrieved party.
Negligence: If an auctioneer fails to exercise due care in handling items, leading to damage or loss, they may be sued for negligence. Insurance can help cover legal defense costs and any damages awarded to the claimant, protecting the auctioneer's financial stability.
Failure to disclose: Auctioneers have a duty to disclose any known defects or issues with items up for auction. Failure to do so may result in a lawsuit from a dissatisfied buyer. Insurance can help cover legal defense costs and any damages awarded, ensuring the auctioneer can continue operating without significant financial loss.
In all of these cases, insurance policies tailored to the needs of auctioneers can help cover the cost of legal defense, settlements, or damages. This can help auctioneers maintain their financial stability and reputation, even in the face of legal challenges. It is crucial for auctioneers to work closely with insurance providers to ensure they have adequate coverage for their specific risks and potential liabilities.
Commercial Insurance And Business Industry Classification
- SIC CODE: 7389 Business Services, Not Elsewhere Classified, 5154 Livestock, 5159 Farm-Product Raw Materials, Not Elsewhere Classified
- NAICS CODE: 453998 All Other Miscellaneous Store Retailers (except Tobacco Stores), 424590 Other Farm Product Raw Material Merchant Wholesalers, 561990 All Other Support Services
- Suggested Workers Compensation Code(s): 8017 Store - Retail NOC
Description for 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
Description for 5154 Livestock
Division F: Wholesale Trade | Major Group 51: Wholesale Trade-non-durable Goods | Industry Group 515: Farm-product Raw Materials
5154: Livestock: Establishments primarily engaged in buying and/or marketing cattle, hogs, sheep, and goats. This industry also includes the operation of livestock auction markets.
- Auctioning livestock-wholesale
- Livestock, except horses and mules-wholesale
Description for 5159 Farm-Product Raw Materials, Not Elsewhere Classified
Division F: Wholesale Trade | Major Group 51: Wholesale Trade-non-durable Goods | Industry Group 515: Farm-product Raw Materials
5159: Farm-Product Raw Materials, Not Elsewhere Classified: Establishments primarily engaged in buying and/or marketing farm products, not elsewhere classified. Establishments primarily engaged in the wholesale distribution of milk are classified in Industry 5143, and those distributing live poultry are classified in Industry 5144.
- Animal hair-wholesale
- Buyers of raw farm products, except grain, field beans, and
- Cotton merchants, not members of exchanges-wholesale
- Cotton, raw-wholesale
- Country buyers of cotton or cotton linters
- Dealers in raw farm products, except grain, field beans, and
- Dried beet pulp-wholesale
- Fibers, vegetable-wholesale
- Furs, raw-wholesale
- Hides (may include curing)-wholesale
- Merchants of raw farm products, except grain, field beans, and
- Mohair, raw-wholesale
- Nuts, unprocessed or shelled only-wholesale
- Oil kernels-wholesale
- Oil nuts-wholesale
- Peanuts, bulk: unprocessed or shelled only-wholesale
- Semen, bovine-wholesale
- Silk, raw-wholesale
- Skins, raw-wholesale
- Sugar, raw-wholesale
- Tobacco auctioning and warehousing-wholesale
- Tobacco, leaf (including exporters)-wholesale
- Wool tops and noils-wholesale
- Wool, raw-wholesale
Auctioneer Insurance - The Bottom Line
To find out more about the specific types of auctioneer insurance policies you'll need and how much coverage you should have, speak with a reputable agent that is experienced in commercial insurance.
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.