Frequently Asked Questions About
Commercial General Liability Insurance
How much does small business insurance cost?
Costs can vary widely based on industry and are also determined by zip code and often payroll and/or gross sales. Request a free quote to get an exact number. (read more)
What kind of business insurance do I need?
Most business owners need General Liability Insurance at the very least. If you have any non-owner employees, you will need workers compensation insurance too.
What is a Certificate of Insurance?
A Certificate of Insurance is proof of coverage. It lists the type and amount of liability coverage you have and other policy information when a third party requests it. (read more)
Is business insurance tax deductible?
Yes. you can deduct the cost of commercial insurance premiums. The IRS considers insurance a cost of doing business as long it benefits the business & serves a business purpose.
Detective Agency Insurance
Detective Agency Insurance. Detective or investigative agencies search for and develop facts and information for their clients, which may include individuals and businesses. Most states require detective agencies to be licensed. While some carry firearms, they do not have police authority. The agency may perform general investigative services or specialize in such areas as child custody disputes, pre-employment background checks, relationship conflicts, or missing persons.
While much of their work is simply gathering information, they may be hired to obtain evidence, such as interviews or photographs, for civil lawsuits, or work with insurance adjusters to investigate suspicious claims. They may serve summons or subpoenas for courts, locate debtors, or bail jumpers who run off, or work undercover to document suspected criminal activity.
From gathering information to pinpointing the details about a particular individual, group of people, or even entire organizations, as a detective, you perform a variety of duties for the clients that secure your services. There's no doubt that your work is important, but there are a number of risks associated with owning and operating a private investigations firm. In order to safeguard your business, your clients, your staff, and yourself, having the right type of insurance in place is crucial.
Why do detective agencies need insurance? What policies do detectives need and how much coverage should they carry? Find out more about detective agency insurance below.
Detective agency insurance protects your investigative services business from lawsuits with rates as low as $57/mo. Get a fast quote and your certificate of insurance now.
Why Is Insurance So Important for Detective Agencies?
The professionals within your detective agency are specially trained to provide surveillance, conduct searches, and offer protection for the clients that hire you; among other services that you may provide. You acquire personal information and share it with your clients, you work undercover, you deal with the public, and you are constantly exposed to various threats.
What would you do if someone filed a lawsuit against you, claiming that you were harassing them? What if a client stated that you failed to deliver the services you said you would provide? What if a client or a vendor tripped, fell, and sustained an injury while visiting your office? What if a member of your staff was injured while performing work-related duties?
As the owner and operator of the detective agency, you would be held liable for all of these scenarios, which means that you would also have to pay the expenses that are associated with them; medical bills, property damages, legal fees, etc. Having to pay for these expenses out of your own pocket could put you in a serious financial predicament that could potentially lead to bankruptcy; however, if you have the right type of insurance coverage, your insurance company would pay for these costs, which means that you will avoid the repercussions of such exorbitant expenses.
In other words, detective agency insurance protects you from paying the astronomical fees that are associated with the risks of running a business like yours.
What Type Of Insurance Coverage Should Private Investigators Carry?
The type of insurance coverage that a detective agency needs will vary from organization to organization. The protections your agency needs depend on a variety of factors, including the specific services you offer, where your agency is located, whether or not you employ a staff, and what type of clients you work with. However, there are specific types of coverage that all detective agencies should have in place, including:
- Commercial General Liability - This type of coverage protects you from any third-party bodily injury and property damage claims that may be filed against your agency. For instance, if a vendor slips and falls while making a delivery to your office, sustains an injury, and files a lawsuit against your business, if you have a commercial general liability policy, your insurance provider will cover the cost of any medical care the individual needs, as well as any legal fees that may be associated with a lawsuit.
- Commercial Property - Whether you lease or own the property that you operate your detective agency out of, you'll want to have a commercial property policy. This type of insurance protects the commercial space, the items within it, and some of the exterior surfaces and structures from various types of risks, including storm, fire, and water damage, vandalism, and theft. If someone breaks the windows on your commercial property and spray paints graffiti on the walls, commercial property insurance will help to cover the cost of any necessary repair or replacement fees.
- Workers Compensation - If you employ a staff, even if it's just a handful of people, you'll also need to carry a workers comp policy in most US states. This coverage assists with any medical care that your employees may need if they suffer a work-related accident or illness. It will also cover a portion of the employees' lost wages while recovering, and can even pay for training in a new field, if he or she is unable to return to the previous position held.
Private Investigator's Risks & Exposures
Premises liability exposure is very limited at the office location due to lack of public access. The primary exposure is off site. Depending on services offered, potential for causing either bodily injury or property damage may be considerable. Investigative operations may place workers in a trespass situation. While legal and permissible information gathering is important, the agency must be careful not to infringe on the lawful rights of others.
Background checks, monitoring, and supervision of all employees are required. Personal injury exposures include breach of confidentiality, libel, slander, trespass, invasion of privacy, and unlawful detention. These often fall under the professional liability coverage.
Professional liability exposures vary with the services offered. Where only research is involved, the hazards are minimal: the detective obtains the required information (current address, prior business activity, lawsuits or criminal record), and provides it to the client.
The exposure may be severe in cases of relationship or child custody disputes, tracking down debtors or bail jumpers, and similar investigations. In these cases, the detective may serve as a witness in court. Any inaccuracies or failure to document adherence to legal and professional standards may have serious consequences. If force or threat of force is used, the personal injury hazard, in addition to potential invasion of privacy risks to the client, may also carry with it the assertion by alleged perpetrators of wrongful detention or unreasonable use of force.
If the investigator carries firearms, all federal, state, and local statutes must be followed. Training, supervision, and monitoring are crucial. There should be a written contract with each client explaining services and offering advice. These agreements must be signed by the client, including acknowledgments of services that were recommended and not taken.
Workers compensation exposure can be very high. If most of the work is done in the office and on computers, potential injuries include eyestrain, neck strain, carpal tunnel syndrome, and similar cumulative trauma that can be addressed through ergonomically designed workstations. Off-site, the hazards become more serious as detectives are working in unfamiliar environments. Detectives often work alone in dark or high-crime areas.
Check-in procedures, instruction, and training on how to handle emergency situations are all important to review. Any firearm use by employees must be permitted only after there is extensive training and periodic recertification. Without firm procedures regarding firearm ownership, handling, and storage, hazards may increase dramatically. Any specialized work, such as chartering aircraft or watercraft, significantly increases hazards in the workers compensation and liability areas.
Property exposures are generally limited to those of an office, although there may be some vehicle storage. Ignition sources include electrical wiring, heating and air conditioning systems. Hazards arise from the storage of photos and records, which may be in paper or electronic format. Firearms and electronic equipment can be targeted by thieves. 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 or the police department.
Crime exposure may arise from employee dishonesty, including theft of customers' property as detectives often have open access to customers' premises. Hazards increase without proper background checks and monitoring procedures.
Inland marine exposures consist of accounts receivable if the agency offers credit, computers, mobile equipment, and valuable papers and records for customers' and surveillance information. Mobile equipment includes surveillance equipment, radios, base station, walkie-talkies, and other items the investigators carry with them or in their vehicles. These can be damaged by fire, theft, wind, collision, or overturn. All equipment must be secured and locked up when not in use. Hazards may increase in the absence of procedures to ensure proper accounting of all equipment.
Business auto exposures can be extensive during investigations, particularly while traveling to and from information sources. If company vehicles are supplied for use, there should be written procedures in place regarding personal use by employees and their family members. All drivers must be licensed with acceptable MVRs. All vehicles must be well maintained with documentation kept in a central location.
Detective Agency Insurance
Protecting your private investigation with the right type of insurance is crucial for your overall success. To find out exactly what type of detective agency insurance you need and how much coverage you should have in place, speak with a reputable insurance broker who knows your business.
Small Business Economic Data & Insurance Regulations
Perhaps you have the next great idea for a product or service that you know will appeal to your local area. Maybe you want to contribute to the economic growth of your community. Whatever the reason is, if you're thinking about starting a small business, it's important to understand pertinent information relating to small businesses in the United States; namely economic information and insurance regulations. After all, if you want your small business to succeed, you have to understand the economic trends organizations of a similar size in your area.
Likewise, you want to ensure that your small business is well protected with the right business insurance and that you are in compliance with the rules and regulations that pertain to commercial insurance in your region.
Read up on economic statistics and insurance information that relates to small business owners in the United States.
Small Business Economic Data In The United States
Here's a look at some information that was compiled by the Small Business Association (SBA) regarding the economic data that pertains to small businesses in the United States:
- In 2015, small businesses in the United States employed an estimated 58.9 million American workers, or 47.5 percent of the nation's private workforce.
- Largest shares = fewer than 100 employees. The small businesses that employed 100 people or less had the largest share of employment amount small businesses.
- Employment increased by nearly 2 percent. In 2018, employment amongst small businesses increased by 1.8 percent, which is an increase of 1 percent from the prior year.
- Increase in proprietors. In 2016, the number of small business proprietors increased by 2.3 percent.
- In 2015, small businesses were responsible for creating 1.9 million net jobs. Organizations that employed 20 people or less had the largest gains, as they added an estimated 1.1 million net jobs.
- There were 5.7 million loans that were value less than $100,000 issued by lenders in the United States in 2016. These loans were issued under the Community Reinvestment Act.
- Small business owners that were self-employed at the incorporated businesses that they owned reported a median income of $50,347 in 2016.
- Small business owners that were self-employed at the unincorporated businesses that they owned reported a median income of $23,060 in 2016.
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. The SBA recommends the following insurance plans for small business owners:
- Commercial Property Insurance: In the case of an unplanned disaster - fire, flood, vandalism, theft, etc. - this type of coverage will help you avoid paying for the damage out of your own pocket. Even if you rent the property, you should still carry commercial property insurance.
- Commercial Liability Insurance: In the event that a legal situation arises - a negligence lawsuit, for example - commercial liability coverage will provide financial protection. It will cover the cost of legal defense fees, court fees, and even moneys that may be awarded.
- Commercial Auto Insurance: If you operate a vehicle for any activities that are related to your business - transporting and/or delivering goods, or meeting with clients - commercial auto insurance is legally required for businesses of all sizes, including small businesses.
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
- 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.
Quotes from leading small business insurance carriers including: ACE, AmTrust, Chubb, Cincinnati, CNA, Colony, Employers, Evanston, Fireman's, Foremost, Guard, Hanover, Hiscox, Liberty Mutual, LLoyd's of London, Markel, MSA, Nationwide, Penn America, Philadelphia, Prime, Progressive, Scottsdale, The Hartford, Travelers, USLI, Utica First, Western World, Zurich & others.