Who needs professional indemnity insurance?
Anyone offering any kind of service to paying clients needs professional indemnity insurance. It protects you from claims by those clients that your work fell short of expectations.
That can happen to anyone, for all sorts of reasons. And whether you think a claim is justified or not, you’ll still have to do something about it. Hoping it’ll simply go away isn’t an option.
That means a good deal of time and expertise if you reckon on handling the legal legwork yourself. Or money if you want to buy it in. More money, too, if you have to pay compensation and costs.
Professional indemnity insurance is your secret weapon. Having it means you get the might of an expert insurer in your back pocket, ready to fight your corner and protect your finances.
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Why do I need professional indemnity insurance?
Because Murphy’s law says that if something can go wrong it will. Not forgetting that none of us are perfect, no matter how good we think we are at what we do. We can all make mistakes.
Others can make mistakes on our behalf too. Such as a contractor or supplier who doesn’t hold up their end of the bargain. Only the buck stops with you.
A mistake that costs a client money usually means a claim for compensation. Unfortunately, that’s when lawyers get involved and costs start to escalate.
By picking up the tab for your defence and covering any payouts, professional indemnity insurance takes care of everything. It means you’ll still have a business left to run once all the drama’s over.
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What does professional indemnity insurance cover?
Generally, but depending on the exact wording of your policy, it pays to defend you against claims of:
- Negligence or breach of duty of care to your client – making a mistake or providing bad service.
- Infringing intellectual property rights – such as trademarks and copyright.
- Defamation and libel – writing or saying the wrong thing.
- Breach of confidence – sharing information you weren’t meant to.
- Losing data – either paper or digital.
- Dishonesty – by your employees or subcontractors.
Read more about what does professional indemnity insurance cover.
How much professional indemnity insurance do I need?
How much professional indemnity insurance you need depends on what you do and on what scale. That said, working out a precise amount isn’t an exact science.
As a rule of thumb, think about the worst mistake you could make, how much it could cost to put right, how much compensation you might have to pay your client and what the legal costs might be. Big numbers, right?
Also remember that if a project goes horribly wrong because of something you did, a client may sue you for the entire cost of the failure, not just your part in it.
Buying as much professional indemnity as you can afford is a good place to start. You can never have too much.
Other things to consider are that some professional associations require members to have professional indemnity cover at a minimum level. Plus, clients may make having a certain amount of professional indemnity a condition of their contracts.
Read more about how much professional indemnity insurance do I need?
How much does professional indemnity insurance cost?
How much your PI policy costs depends on what you do and how much of it you do.
Some professions are ‘riskier’ than others. For example, the stakes can be high if an architect or engineer gets things wrong, and the numbers involved in a claim can be large.
Also, a business that does, erm, a lot of business with a lot of clients is more likely to be sued than one that doesn’t - simply by the laws of probability.
Where professional indemnity insurance is worth its weight in gold is in helping to protect any type of business from the potentially crippling financial repercussions of a claim.
And the good news is, prices start from around £6.51 a month for £100,000 worth of cover. When you get a professional indemnity insurance quote you’ll be able to select your occupation from among the hundreds we cover.
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What are some professional indemnity claims examples?
How long have you got? Professional indemnity claims come in all shapes and sizes. That’s because there are a lot of different professions, a lot of different things can go wrong, and some mistakes are more costly than others.
Here are a few PI claims we’ve come across, some of which ran into the £tens of thousands and more:
- Photographer – lost all the digital images from a wedding shoot when the data corrupted. Sued by the unhappy couple for negligence.
- Accountant – entered the wrong figures on a tax return, leading to an HMRC investigation. Claim for the client’s financial and reputational loss.
- Surveyor – got the boundaries wrong on a housing development, meaning fewer homes could be built. Claim for the client’s financial loss.
- IT consultancy – web hosting partner company was hacked, meaning the client’s websites were down for two days. Sued for loss of business.
- Management consultant – anticipated return on investment for client’s business plan failed to materialise. Sued for negligence.
- Marketing agency – accidently leaked information about a client’s under-wraps product. Claim for breach of confidentiality.
Discover more professional indemnity insurance claims examples.
Professional indemnity vs public liability insurance
These two are like chalk and cheese, but people often confuse them. Maybe it’s because there’s a tendency to mash up their names. People often ask us for ‘professional liability insurance’ or ‘public indemnity’, for example.
In reality, they’re two very distinct types of cover, that serve two very different purposes. And the likelihood is that you’ll need both professional indemnity and public liability insurance.
Here’s what they do in a nutshell:
- Professional indemnity insurance protects you from claims that your client took a financial hit because of your negligence or mistake.
- Public liability insurance protects you from claims that you caused damage to a third party or to their property.
Read more about the difference between professional indemnity and public liability insurance.
Can I buy short-term professional indemnity insurance?
You can. But it’s a bit like playing Russian Roulette.
That’s because for a claim on your professional indemnity insurance to be valid, your policy needs to be up and running at two points:
- When the work is done
- When a claim comes in
So, if you buy a PI policy to cover a contract, then cancel it as soon as it finishes, you could be facing a problem. The reason being claims relating to your work can emerge weeks, months or even years later.
If that happens, and you’ve let your professional indemnity slide in the meantime, you won’t be covered. It’s far safer to get the protection an annual policy offers.
Read more about short-term professional indemnity insurance.
Why should I buy professional indemnity insurance from you?
Because we’re a specialist business insurance broker with the know-how to get you a professional indemnity insurance policy that’s the right fit for your business, quickly and easily.
Our simple online quote process makes the whole thing painless, plus we’ve got friendly expert advisers waiting to take your call if you need them.
Here’s some more reasons to buy your professional indemnity insurance from us:
- Policies from trusted insurers including Hiscox and Axa XL.
- Quote and buy quickly online.
- Policy documents delivered straight to your inbox.
- No hidden costs or admin fees.
- Interest-free monthly Direct Debits.
- No insurance jargon – plain English only.
- No call centre or phone menu – just friendly, helpful humans.
- Extras like a badge for your website and a cash bonus each time you recommend us.
But it’s customer feedback that really counts, so take a look at ours. We think it speaks for itself.
What other business insurance do I need?
There’s plenty of ways to protect your business with insurance. Here’s some other cover you might want to add alongside your professional indemnity.
Public liability – covers claims for injuries or damage to people and their property on your premises or elsewhere, including trips, slips and falls.
Employers’ liability – covers claims that your employees were injured or made ill at work. It’s a legal requirement if you have staff.
Cyber – covers hacking and cybercrime. Provides the financial, legal and tech support you need to keep going if you’re hit by a cyber-attack.
Office – covers repair or replacement of your office equipment if it’s damaged or stolen, including IT kit and computers.
Portable equipment – covers the things you take out and about with you, like laptops, phones and cameras.
Business interruption – covers lost revenue and pays for you to set up elsewhere temporarily if something like a fire or flood stops you operating normally.
Directors’ & officers’ – covers directors’ and officers’ personal liability if there’s an accusation of wrongdoing like financial mismanagement or health and safety failure.