Just like many other industies, as a real estate agencyyou’re subject to lawsuits and claims filed against you in performing your real estate duties. From a customer losing a money on a transaction due to a negligent real estate broker error to a delay or cancellation in a sale as a result of a agent-made closing document mistake to a mishandled property inspection, blunders in real estate transactions can and do happen. That’s why insurance for real estate agencies provides protection against the potential financial burden that accompanies a lawsuit.
To avoid putting your professional and personal financial future on the line, consider general liability, errors and omissions (E&O), and commercial auto insurance for real estate agencies.
Real Estate Agency General Liability Insurance
General Liability insurance provides the real estate agency with protection from injury claims, advertising claims, and property damage claims. Typically, a general liability policy also covers slander, libel, and infringement on intellectual property, such as copyrights and trademarks. A general liability policy provides compensation for defense costs in a lawsuit brought against you, including court costs, witness fees, and attorney fees, in addition to judgment or settlement monies.
This coverage can be written on a stand-alone basis or as part of a BOP.
Real Estate Agency Error and Omissions (Real Estate E&O) Insurance
As an agency, you may already have general liability insurance, which covers losses relating to injury, property damage, and advertising. But general business liability insurance doesn’t generally protect you against lawsuit claims arising from a customer’s lawsuit for errors, omission, or failure to perform during a real estate transaction that caused the customer a loss. Examples include a real estate agent misrepresenting a property. An E&O policy shields the realtor’s assets and pays legal costs, should a suit be brought against him. Just like doctors need malpractice insurance, realtors need E&O insurance.
Real Estate Agency Commercial Auto Insurance
Unless you’re able to take the subway or bus to show your properties, most real estate agencies must use a vehicle to carry out the day-to-day operations in order to land a real estate sale. Coverage for damage to your vehicle from a traffic accident along with liability damages that arise from a collision can be purchased in a commercial auto insurance policy.
Real Estate Agency Additional Coverages
In addition to general liability, E&O, and commercial auto insurance, there are a few other recommended types of insurance for real estate agents.
Real Estate Agency Workers Compensation Insurance – For instance, if you have employees working for your real estate business, you’ll need workers compensation insurance, which provides your employees protection against job-related medical illnesses and workplace injuries
Real Estate Agency Employment Practices Liability Insurance –With the rise in employment-related litigation, it’s wise to have employment practice liability insurance (EPLI), which provides protection against harassment, wrongful termination, and discrimination claims among others.
Real Estate Agency Business Owner Policy –A business owner policy, or BOP, is an insurance policy package that assembles basic coverages needed for the real estate agent business owner in one bundle. A typical BOP includes business interruption insurance, property insurance, business liability, and crime insurance, to name a few. However, depending on the specific risks that the real estate agent faces, additional components can be included in the bundle.
Real Estate Agency Certificate of Insurance – Any time you’re considering hiring a independent contractor to help you in your real estate business, it’s important to verify that the contractor is covered with general liability insurance, which will cover damages if the contractor’s error or accident causes property damage. Ask your contractor to give you a copy of his Certificate of Insurance, which is a document insured by an insurance company and certifies that an insurance policy has been purchased. A certificate of insurance shouldn’t be substituted for the actual insurance policy, it’s generally reliable proof of insurance coverage.
No matter how seasoned a realtor you are or how careful you are in your real estate transaction duties, you are at risk for losses, damages, and lawsuits, whether unfounded or not simply by doing your job. Mitigate these risks by purchasing the proper insurance for real estate agents.