Does a Freelancer Need Professional Liability Insurance?

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As a freelancer, do you know if you have liability when working with your clients? If you do have a potential liability, would it fall under professional liability insurance?

What is professional liability insurance?

Professional liability insurance covers mistakes in your work or things that you leave out of your work. It is also called errors and omissions coverage.

For example, you are a marketing consultant and your client’s sales drop 50% after they follow your advice. If they sue you, this would fall under a professional liability insurance claim?

How is professional liability insurance different from general liability insurance?

General liability insurance covers general personal injuries or property damage. This could be a client slipping and falling in your office or if you accidentally knock over an expensive piece of equipment at their location. The difference is that instead of being related to your work, general liability covers things that could happen to practically any business.

Won’t your LLC protect you?

Having an LLC may not fully protect you from liability as a freelancer.

The first reason why is that an LLC only protects your personal assets. If you get sued, you could still lose everything that’s under your LLC.

The second reason is that when you’re a freelancer performing services yourself, it can be really easy for a plaintiff to argue that you’re still personally liable for your personal actions.

Can a client require you to have professional liability insurance?

Clients requiring their contractors to have insurance is common in many fields. It guarantees that the client can get reimbursed for claims without having to worry about whether you have enough money if they needed to sue you. It also protects you as you can direct the claim to your insurance company instead of worrying about how you’ll pay for it.

Will your client’s insurance protect you?

Since a freelancer acts as an outside business, you generally don’t fall under your client’s insurance policy. This is different from how employees are insured by their employers.

Even if the client’s insurance policy initially paid the client on a claim, their insurance company would still likely seek reimbursement from you.

It is theoretically possible for a client to buy coverage that would protect you as well. However, this is uncommon and you should carefully consider the limits and exclusions on that policy when deciding whether it gives you adequate protection.

What is your maximum liability?

If you work on relatively small projects, you may think that you don’t need insurance because you can afford to just refund the invoice. Your liability is not necessarily equal to what you billed your client.

For example, your client hires you to write a comparison between them and a competitor. The competitor files a $1 million lawsuit alleging that what you wrote is slander. You could potentially be liable for legal defense costs plus the possible judgment against you or your client.

So do you need professional liability insurance?

Keep reading these insurance resources to help you learn more about insurance so that you can make an informed decision. If you need specific advice on what insurance you need for your situation, talk to a licensed insurance agent in your area. Hiscox is a popular insurance provider that offers professional liability policies.

You may also want to meet with a lawyer to discuss the potential liabilities involved in your business.

Need personal help? Click here for additional free resources or to find an accountant, attorney, or other professional near youRemember: This blog post and the comments provide generalized information that may be out of date or inaccurate for your situation. Always schedule a personal consultation with an appropriate licensed professional in your area before taking action. For full terms of use, click here.

Have general questions about this post or want to learn more about a related topic? Please leave a comment at the bottom of the page. Comments are public, and I can’t provide individual advice, but it helps me make the posts more useful for the future. Please do not post personal information. If you need personal assistance, please contact the relevant government agency or hire an appropriate professional near you.

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