Courthouse Insurance Policy Information
Courthouse Insurance. In the United States, a complex and sophisticated system of courts processes both civil and criminal cases at various levels.
Not only are courts divided into municipal, county, state, and federal courts, different types of courts handle specific types of legal cases. Traffic, small claims, juvenile, appeals, and family courts are merely some examples.
Courthouses provide facilities for the judicial branch of government. They provide office space for officers of the court, facilities for public meetings, for trials and for related legal operations. Judges may preside over civil marriage ceremonies in the courthouse.
Due to the potential for violence in contested legal proceedings, many courthouses now have supplemental security systems such as X-ray machines to detect the presence of weapons.
It is easy to see courthouses as abstract symbols of authority or justice, almost above reproach, but in reality, courthouses are vulnerable to some of the same perils that commercial ventures of all types would face.
Likewise, courthouses depend on public funding within a set budget, and additional costs that fall outside of this can prove to be challenging to manage.
For these reasons, courthouses, like businesses, too require insurance. What kinds of courthouse insurance might a judicial facility need to carry in order to protect itself from the financial consequences of circumstances beyond the court's control? To discover more, keep reading.
Courthouse insurance protects your judicial facility from lawsuits with rates as low as $127/mo. Get a fast quote and your certificate of insurance now.
Below are some answers to commonly asked courthouse insurance questions:
- What Is Courthouse Insurance?
- How Much Does Courthouse Insurance Cost?
- Why Do Courthouses Need Insurance?
- What Type Of Insurance Do Courthouses Need?
- What Does Courthouse Insurance Cover & Pay For?
What Is Courthouse Insurance?
Courthouse business insurance is a type of insurance policy designed specifically for businesses that operate within a courthouse or other government building. It provides coverage for any damage to the building, its contents, and any liability issues that may arise as a result of the business operations.
This type of insurance is designed to protect businesses that operate within a courthouse or other government building from a variety of potential risks, including theft, vandalism, property damage, and liability claims.
The coverage provided by courthouse business insurance may also include protection for equipment and supplies, as well as coverage for any loss of income that may result from a business interruption.
How Much Does Courthouse Cost?
The average price of a standard $1,000,000/$2,000,000 General Liability Insurance policy for small courthouses ranges from $127 to $179 per month based on location, size, case load, claims history and more.
Why Do Courthouses Need Insurance?
Governmental institutions and other public organizations need insurance because these entities can be confronted with some of the same threats as homeowners, manufacturers, or stores. Courthouses further face some unique risks.
Courthouses are not immune to acts of nature (also sometimes called acts of God) - earthquakes, wildfires, serious floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes can wreak havoc, causing massive damage to not only the courthouse itself but also the physical assets within.
In addition, even courts can be struck by criminal acts such as burglary, theft, or vandalism.
Like commercial ventures, courthouses can face liability issues in instances where, for example, an employee or a member of the public slips and injures themselves on a slippery floor, or renovation activities cause construction materials to fall on someone
Of special sensitivity are the documents courts store, and this is why, despite cyber security efforts, courthouses also have to consider the possibility of data breaches and thefts that could result in confidential data being made public.
Public and governmental entities can and should protect their financial interests from these and other perils by acquiring comprehensive courthouse insurance coverage.
What Type Of Insurance Do Courthouses Need?
Owing to the specialized nature of the activities a courthouse engages in, courthouses would want to seek to acquire insurance coverage from an insurer specializing in insuring governmental or public organizations.
The exact nature of the required coverage will vary from one jurisdiction to the next, and it also depends on factors like the materials the building itself was constructed from.
An insurance broker can be of immense help in helping a courthouse obtain the right insurance. Having said that, judicial facilities will generally need, among others, these types of courthouse insurance coverage:
- Commercial Property - Should theft, vandalism, accidents, acts of nature, or other perils cause substantial damage to the courthouse itself, the resulting costs can be massive. Property insurance helps to cover repair or replacement costs in these cases, pertaining not only to the physical building but also to other assets such as furniture, computers, and security systems.
- General Liability - This type of courthouse insurance exists to make the costs of personal injury or property damage claims more manageable, and courthouses require it too. Scenarios in which someone slips on a wet floor, or a court employee damages someone's vehicle by accident, are just some examples of situations that call for general liability insurance.
- Cyber Liability - This type of insurance protects a courthouse from the financial consequences of situations in which electronic assets are stolen, accessed, altered, or made public.
- Workers' Compensation - Workers comp is generally required for any entity with more than one employee. It covers the medical bills of employees who sustain work-related injuries or accidents. In addition, if such a worker cannot return to their job for a time, their lost wages are also replaced.
- Employee Dishonesty - Crucial for any governmental or public entity, this type of insurance is designed to cover the costs associated with dishonest or criminal acts on the part of an employee, whether in the form of theft or other activities.
Obtaining the insurance coverage that best serves the needs of a courthouse is a complex process, and forms of insurance that carry the same name may cover different eventualities, depending on the insurance company.
It is imperative to examine the details of any courthouse insurance policy in-depth to make sure that the courthouse is adequately protected from the fallout of all major perils.
Courthouse's Risks & Exposures
Premises liability exposure is high due to the public's access to the building and the potential for volatility in high-profile court cases. If tours are given, exposures increase significantly as guests may be led through areas generally "off limits" to more casual visitors.
Legislation and judicial decisions have eroded governmental immunity protection in most states. Public and life safety code compliance is very important.
To prevent trips, slips, and falls, all premises must be well maintained with flooring in good condition. Adequate lighting, marked exits, and egress are mandatory. Steps must have handrails, be well lit, marked, and in good maintenance and repair. An outside service contractor should inspect elevators and escalators annually.
Parking lots should be free of ice and snow. Courthouses may be a target for vandals, criminals, or terrorists. Security has become an increasing concern for officials such as the judges, lawyers for both defense and prosecution, jurors and guards, and for prisoners.
Security inside the facility, as well as outside areas, including owned parking areas, needs to be carefully implemented and monitored. Weapons checks should be conducted on all visitors. An evacuation plan must be in place. Personal injury losses may occur due to an alleged assault, discrimination, invasion of privacy, or unlawful detention.
Workers compensation exposures are varied, from office workers to volunteers, janitorial, building or yard maintenance workers, repair personnel, and drivers. Workers may incur back injuries, hernias, slips, falls, strains, or sprains.
Skin or lung irritations can result from working with cleaning chemicals and paint. Office workers may develop repetitive motion injuries. Workstations should be ergonomically designed.
Court bailiffs are subject to the same injuries as other police officers because they maintain the order in the court. They must be trained to deal with unruly visitors or prisoners.
Property exposure is generally low. Ignition sources include electrical wiring and heating, and air conditioning systems. Most courthouses are older and have been remodeled extensively to handle additional electrical loads from computers and sound systems.
All electrical wiring must be up to code. Circuit breakers and fuse boxes must not be able to be overridden. Smoke detectors are critical for early detection of a fire. Smoking should be prohibited.
Valuation may be a concern in older buildings that have unique architectural features that may be difficult to rebuild with like construction and quality after a loss.
Courthouses may be a target for criminal activity, political activism, or terrorism. Adequate security is required. There should be disaster recovery plans in place to continue operations in the event of a large loss.
Crime exposure is from public officials' dishonesty, employee dishonesty, and money and securities. Background checks, including criminal history, must be completed on all employees. Receipts must be provided for all payments of court fees, fines, and penalties, with daily reconciliation between receipts and money received.
Regular deposits must be made with adequate security provided. Money should not be left on premises overnight.
All employees must be required to take at least one week of vacation each year. There must be annual independent audits.
If the courthouse has an office to collect fees, fines, and penalties, there may be an exposure to hold up.
Inland marine exposures include audio/visual equipment, computers, fine arts, and valuable papers and records from municipal records such as trial and verdict records. Owned equipment used or taken off premises can be damaged in transit, lost, or stolen.
Fine arts such as statuary and paintings, artifacts, historical documents, or rare or historical books, may be one-of-a-kind and irreplaceable. If insured, valuation should be done by a qualified appraiser. Fine arts and valuable papers and records are often delicate and must be protected from fire, water damage, vandalism, theft, or other losses.
Duplicates of all files should be stored at an off-site facility for easy retrieval in the event of a loss. If the court takes possession of the goods of others, bailees customer coverage may be needed.
Business auto exposures can be high if vehicles are used to transport public officials, guests, jurors, prisoners, and visitors. All drivers must have appropriate licenses and acceptable MVRs. All vehicles must be maintained on a regular basis with records kept in a central location.
What Does Courthouse Insurance Cover & Pay For?
Courthouses, like any other institution, can be sued for various reasons. Some common reasons include negligence, breach of contract, employment disputes, and personal injury. Insurance can help protect courthouses by covering the costs associated with these lawsuits. Here are some examples of how insurance can help in each case:
Negligence: If a courthouse is sued for negligence, such as failing to provide adequate security measures, the insurance policy can help cover the legal fees and any settlement or judgment awarded to the claimant. This can save the courthouse from financial losses and help maintain its reputation.
Breach of Contract: Courthouses may be sued for breach of contract, for instance, if they fail to uphold the terms of a contract with a service provider. Insurance can help pay for the legal fees, as well as any damages awarded to the plaintiff, minimizing financial losses and helping the courthouse recover quickly.
Employment Disputes: Courthouses can be sued for wrongful termination, discrimination, or harassment by employees. Employment practices liability insurance (EPLI) can help cover the costs associated with these lawsuits, including legal fees and any settlement or judgment awarded to the employee. This helps protect the courthouse from financial losses and reputational damage.
Personal Injury: If someone is injured on courthouse premises, they may file a personal injury lawsuit. General liability insurance can help cover the costs of the lawsuit, including legal fees, medical expenses, and any damages awarded to the claimant. This protection helps the courthouse avoid potentially significant financial losses.
For each of these examples, insurance can provide a financial safety net for the courthouse, helping them address the lawsuit without incurring excessive costs. It is essential for courthouses to have appropriate insurance coverage to minimize their risk and protect their assets.
Commercial Insurance And Business Industry Classification
- SIC CODE: 9211 Court Houses
- NAICS CODE: 922110 Courts
- Suggested Workers Compensation Code(s): 8820 Attorney - All Employees & Clerical, Messengers, Drivers, 8810 Clerical Office Employees NOC
Description for 9211: Court Houses
Division J: Public Administration | Major Group 92: Justice, Public Order, And Safety | Industry Group 921: Courts
9211 Court Houses: Civilian courts of law are classified here. Military courts are classified in Industry 9711.
- Civilian courts
- Courts of law
Courthouse Insurance - The Bottom Line
To learn more about the specific types of courthouse insurance policies judicial facilities need and how much coverage they should have, speak with a commercial insurance broker that is experienced in business insurance.
Additional Resources For Local, State And Federal Government Insurance
Learn about commercial insurance for local, state and federal government agencies, services, operations and buildings.
- County Administration Offices
- Fire Departments
- Government Buildings
- Law Enforcement Entities
- Public Buildings
- Specialty Government
The local, state and federal government agencies, services, operations and buildings industry needs business insurance for a variety of reasons.
First and foremost, business insurance helps protect against financial loss. Governments and their agencies often handle large amounts of money, assets and sensitive information, making them a target for theft, fraud and other criminal activities. Insurance can help cover the costs associated with recovering from these types of losses.
In addition, government agencies and buildings are at risk for natural disasters, such as floods, earthquakes and hurricanes. Commercial insurance can help cover the costs of repairing damage caused by these types of events.
Furthermore, government agencies and services often deal with the public on a daily basis, making them vulnerable to liability claims. For example, if a government building is not properly maintained and a visitor slips and falls, the agency could be held liable for the injuries sustained. Insurance can help cover the costs of legal proceedings and any damages awarded.
Lastly, commercial insurance can help protect against unexpected disruptions in operations. For example, if a government agency's computer systems were to crash, it could disrupt the agency's ability to function effectively. Business insurance can help cover the costs of getting the agency back up and running as quickly as possible.
Overall, the local, state and federal government agencies, services, operations and buildings industry needs insurance to protect against financial loss, natural disasters, liability claims and disruptions in operations. Without it, these agencies could face significant financial and operational challenges.
Minimum recommended small business insurance coverage: Building, Business Personal Property, Employee Dishonesty, Money and Securities, Accounts Receivable, Audio/Visual Equipment, Computers, Contractors' Equipment, Fine Arts, Valuable Papers and Records, General Liability, Cyberliability, Employee Benefits, Public Officials' Liability, Umbrella, Hired and Non-Oowned Auto & Workers Compensation.
Other commercial insurance policies to consider: Earthquake, Equipment Breakdown, Extra Expense, Flood, Computer Fraud, Forgery, Employment-related Practices, Business Auto Liability and Physical Damage and; Stop Gap Liability.