All businesses, regardless of industry, face risks that should be covered by insurance. The most common and comprehensive type of policy business owners invest in is general liability insurance (or CGL).
Some of the risks CGL insurance covers are:
- Bodily injury
- Property damage
- Medical payments
- Legal defense and judgment
- Personal and advertising injury
While businesses aren't legally required to carry general liability insurance, operating without it is extremely risky. If your business is sued, you could end up facing fees totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars (or more). Having a sufficient CGL policy in place to help compensate for these damages is the only way to prevent this type of event from devastating your business.
Learn more about the risks covered by general liability insurance.
COMMON SITUATIONS THAT GENERAL LIABILITY INSURANCE WOULD COVER FOR A REAL ESTATE APPRAISER
Example 1: One of your appraisers accidentally leaves a water faucet on during an inspection, resulting in flooding on the lower floor. A general liability policy should cover the cost to repair any damage to the home.
Example 2: During an appraisal, an employee leaves their measuring wheel out, causing a third-party to trip and break their arm. The general liability insurance should cover their medical bill, along with any potential legal expenses.
Example 3: During an appraisal, you fail to lock the side gate to the owner’s fenced-in backyard. Later, their dog gets out and bites a neighbor’s child. They are suing you for medical costs associated with the injury, as well as for pain and suffering. A general liability policy should cover these expenses.
Of course, this is not an exhaustive list of perils a general liability insurance policy will cover, and some conditions may result in a particular peril not being covered. It's always best to talk to your agent in-depth about the specifics of your policy to avoid blind spots in coverage.
On average, real estate appraisers in America spend between $400 - $700 per year for $1 million in general liability coverage.
Check out the chart below for a snapshot of average CGL expenditure across a variety of industries:
Several factors will determine the price of your policy. These include your:
- Number of employees
- Per-occurrence limit
- General aggregate limit
You may be able to acquire general liability insurance at a discounted rate by purchasing it as part of a business owner's policy (BOP) rather than as a standalone policy. A BOP is a more comprehensive solution that includes multiple forms of coverage, such as business interruption and property insurance.
While general liability is the most important type of insurance to have, there are several other forms of coverage you should be aware of. Below are some other types of insurance all real estate appraisers should obtain:
Professional Liability Insurance
A real estate appraiser’s professional expertise is counted on by sellers, buyers, and the bank. A professional liability policy, also known as errors and omissions insurance, covers legal expenses associated with negligence claims brought on by human error and/or misunderstanding.
Commercial Property Insurance
Whether you own or rent, it is important to ensure proper coverage to your building and its contents should a loss occur. Commercial property insurance will help pay to replace or repair property that is damaged in a covered event.
This coverage is typically available as part of a business owner’s policy.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance
Required by most states, worker’s compensation insurance provides medical benefits and income replacement should an employee be injured or fall ill due to a work-related incident. While most states allow business owners to exclude themselves, those involved in the day-to-day operation of the company are urged to consider including themselves on the workers' compensation policy.
In addition to the policies outlined above, there are a few other types of coverage your real estate appraiser may require depending on certain aspects of your operations. Some of these might not apply to you, so be sure to ask your agent which policies are right for your business.
Commercial Auto Insurance
Whether you drive a personal or business automobile, your personal auto policy excludes accidents that occur while on the job. To ensure proper coverage, a commercial auto insurance policy is necessary. It will cover the cost of repairing damage to vehicles involved in an accident, as well as medical expenses for anyone injured.
Although it's easy (and essential) to invest in business insurance, it should not be your frontline defense. Yes, insurance will compensate for your business' financial losses after an incident occurs, but it's much better to avoid losses altogether.
With this in mind, here are three things you can do to better protect your business:
- Use legally robust contracts and other business documents. (We offer free templates for some of the most common legal forms.)
- Set up a limited liability company (LLC) to protect your personal assets. (Refer to our guide for step-by-step instructions on how to form an LLC in your state.)
- Streamline your business' internal processes. This will remove unnecessary variables from common tasks and create a safe, consistent environment for conducting business.
What is included in a business owner’s policy?
A typical business owner's policy includes general liability, business interruption, and property insurance. However, BOPs are often customizable, so your agent may recommend adding professional liability, commercial auto, or other types of coverage to your package depending on your company's needs.
What is the difference between business insurance and general liability insurance?
"Business insurance" is a generic term used to describe many different types of coverage a business may need. General liability insurance, on the other hand, is a specific type of coverage that business owners need to protect their assets.
Do I need insurance before I start a business?
You should invest in coverage for your business before your first interaction with a customer. Although the cost of insurance may seem high for a brand new business, it's best to be proactive when it comes to protecting your assets. After all, you can't buy insurance to cover a loss that has already occurred.
Will insurance protect my business from everything?
Not necessarily. Certain exceptions may be written directly into your policy, and some perils may be entirely uninsurable. Be sure to discuss the scope of your policy in-depth with your agent to avoid being blindsided by holes in your coverage.