Companies aren’t perfect. As much as we’d all prefer our businesses run like well-oiled machines, even the most finely tuned organization can make a mistake. If humans play a role in your business, the occasional mistake is virtually inevitable.
The good news is, that’s OK. It’s why we have insurance. Specifically, it’s why you should have errors and omissions (E&O) insurance. Knowing there is a strong likelihood of errors, you can establish proper coverage beforehand.
Here are some FAQs on E&O insurance:
What is it?
Errors and omissions insurance, also called malpractice insurance or professional liability insurance, covers you and/or your business in the event you’re held responsible for an undesired outcome of your services. If you or someone you employ makes an error or omission (or a perceived error or omission), this policy will cover you.
Who needs it?
E&O insurance is not just for professionals like lawyers, doctors, or accountants. If you provide a service for a fee (and that includes small businesses such as commercial printers, contractors, and Internet hosting companies), you should have this coverage in place.
What is covered?
If an error or omission causes financial loss for a client, E&O coverage provides protection. It pays for judgments, settlements, and defense costs. Without E&O insurance, companies leave themselves open to significant financial risk. And keep in mind, these losses are not covered under your general liability policy.
Even if a client’s allegations are eventually dismissed, you’ll spend thousands of dollars defending a lawsuit. If you must pay a settlement, you will pay defense costs plus the judgment amount. Such suits can bankrupt small companies and cripple larger ones.
When should I get E&O insurance?
The sooner the better. Don’t wait until you’ve experienced a significant loss before taking action. It’s always best to get insurance established before you take the risk. For some companies, this coverage can even be a selling point to clients.
What E&O policy is right for my business?
As with many aspects of business ownership, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. The E&O policy must be tailored to meet the demands and risks of your industry and the specific services you offer. For example, the same policy is not appropriate for a doctor as for a plumber. Work closely with your agent to determine your exposure and the E&O policy that is best for your specific circumstances.
How much does E&O insurance cost?
Because these policies are business-specific, E&O insurance premiums vary greatly. Your location, claims history, exposure, payout limits, and other variables all affect the cost of E&O insurance.
Consult with your agent today if you don’t currently have E&O as part of your insurance portfolio. He or she can help you review your needs and decide what coverage is appropriate for your company. As you review options, bear in mind the losses your company could suffer without this coverage. Ultimately, the cost of not having this policy far outweighs the premium cost.