Professional liability insurance, also known as errors and omissions insurance or E&O, is a type of business insurance that provides financial protection in the event a client holds you liable for your work.
If you make an error that results in financial loss or your work isn’t up to par with your client’s expectations, they can sue. Having professional liability insurance helps cover the costs of any lawsuits and compensatory damages.
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Consider professional liability insurance if you provide advice, offer services, or develop products for clients. One mistake, even a small miscommunication could bring immense financial loss to your client’s business, leading to the downfall of your own. Some professions, such as lawyers and accountants, may require professional liability insurance to practice while others that should consider it include:
- IT consultants
- Management consultants
- Software developers
- Interior designers
- Graphic designers
- Personal trainers
- Fitness instructors
Each industry brings a different level of risk. Generally speaking, the riskier your profession, the higher your professional liability insurance quote will be. A pilates trainer that teaches one class a week won’t be paying as much as an IT consultant working with millions of dollars on the line.
How much does professional liability insurance cost in Canada?
The cost of professional liability insurance can range anywhere from $150 to $2,000 annually, depending on the amount of coverage and your level of inherent risks. To find out how much you'll be paying start your online quote with us today.start my quote
Everyone makes mistakes, and sometimes one small mistake can lead to a large claim. Clients can also make claims of professional liability against you, even if you aren’t necessarily at fault. Having professional liability insurance in your back pocket ensures you protect yourself and your business financially in the long run. Here are a few potential situations in which having professional liability insurance could help:
- As an accountant, you make an auditing error that costs your client millions in taxes
- As a personal trainer, you injure your client when teaching them a difficult skill
- As a software developer, you forget to back up a client’s old file with valuable data
- As a photographer, you lose the memory card with all your client’s wedding photos
- As a consultant, your project doesn’t meet your client’s expected return on investment
- As a copywriter, the piece you wrote for a client is held liable for copyright infringement
Make sure each job you take comes with a contractual agreement outlining your deliverables clearly and in particular detail. Have a lawyer review any contracts before you sign them to check for missing information or required additions. The most iron-clad work contracts should give you a timeline for completion, limitations of liability, and a process of working out any potential complaints. You wouldn’t want to get sued for professional liability because you didn’t have a contract in place that outlined expectations for both you and your client.
Communicating clearly with your client is a good way to mitigate the risk of a professional liability claim whether that means asking for feedback on a prototype or confirming project deadlines. You should always check in with their expectations at different stages in the process as your final product could be nothing like what your client wanted if there was no communication in between.
Limit your workload
Limiting your workload doesn’t mean only focusing on one project at a time. It means you should be aware of what you or your business can handle and where your expertise lies. If you have three employees, don’t overburden them with excess work by scaling up with more clients. Trust with employees takes time to learn but can dissipate without due process and care.
Double-checking your work is a simple, yet often disregarded, method that ensures your work is quality and comprehensive. If you accidentally leave in a typo on a flyer you designed, reprinting the entire batch could cost your client (and possibly you) thousands. An overlooked but simple bug fix could cost a technology company millions if left unattended. Small mistakes can lead to big claims, so double-checking is always worth the effort.
Follow best practices
It’s important to follow any laws and regulations in your industry to uphold the best standard of work possible and prevent any professional liability claims. For instance, if you’re a CPA preparing the financial documents for your client’s business, be sure to follow the CPA Accounting Handbook regulations. Rules are put in place to protect both you and your clients. No party wants one wrong move to require lawyers and lawsuits.
What’s the difference between professional liability insurance and general liability insurance?
What’s the difference between professional liability insurance and errors and omissions insurance?
When is professional liability insurance required?
How much professional insurance do I need?
How do I get professional liability insurance in Canada?
Is professional liability the same as professional indemnity?
Matt Hands, Business Director of Insurance
With 6+ years of experience at Ratehub.ca, Matt’s focus has been on growing its newest business unit, Insurance. He is a thought leader and a valuable resource to respected publications across Canada. read full bio
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