Insurance for Interior Designers

No interior designer likes thinking about insurance. However, it is one of the most important parts of running your interior design business. You can't do business without it, luckily I've put together a list of insurance that may be useful to your business.

I so adamantly tell interior designers to get insurance (DO NOT WORK WITHOUT IT!!!) that I also get a lot of questions about what insurance to have.  I'm not an insurance professional and do not know your specific situation so I can't tell you what insurance is best for you.  However, here is a primer of insurance for interior designers so you can talk to your agent about what may be best for your business.

Get as much coverage as you can, the more the better.  You may think it's overkill until you need it.  

A few reasons you must have insurance: protect yourself and your business, to avoid a lawsuit, computer crashes, server explosions, natural disasters, expensive furniture, if you fall off a ladder, if your wallpaper hanger falls off a ladder, if you break a $10,000 vase, if you trip and tear a painting, if you get in a car accident driving to a client's, if you get in an accident driving to your client's with thousands of dollars of accessories in the car, if a check gets stolen, if your assistant steals, if your office gets mold, you receive counterfeit currency, you lose a valuable document, you have to track a client down for payment, a client isn't satisfied with the tile they selected, your biz credit card gets stolen and maxed out.

These are just a couple of examples of the hundreds of things that could happen and require insurance.  

Insurance for Interior Designers

Business Owner's Policy:

A general policy.  The minimum.  Do not take a single step inside someone's home without it.  If you work from home, your homeowner's policy may not cover business activities and business property in your home.  Reasons you need it: Your computer gets stolen from the coffee shop.  You trip and break your arm at a client's.  You break the leg of the client's fauteuil.

Professional Liability Insurance:

This type of insurance goes a step further than the Business Owner's Policy (BOP) and insures those that give services and advice.  Put simply, a BOP covers physical things - bodies, houses, objects - professional liability will cover your words and advice.  This is also known as E&O (errors & omissions) Insurance.  Reasons you need it:  The wallpaper is buckling.  You made a decision to remove a wall without telling the client.

Commercial Property Insurance:

If you have a physical office look into this type of insurance.  Reasons you need it: Your office burns down.  Your office is vandalized.  A car drives through the front of your office.

Event Insurance:

Though less likely, if you hold events talk to your agent about event insurance. Reasons you need it: Someone falls at your #shelfie demonstration.

Disability & Life Insurance:

Personal insurance in the case anything happens to you and you can't work.  Reasons you need it: You die.   (Sorry, insurance can be morbid!) You almost die and are in the hospital for 3 months.

Workman's Compensation Insurance:

If you have employees this is a must-have.  Reasons you need it: Your assistant breaks her leg hanging a tapestry.  If you have 5+ employees the government requires it.

Client’s Homeowner’s Insurance:

This is something that your clients should have already. However, their coverage may be lacking or not cover certain work done in their home. It’s recommended that you ask them to speak to their insurance company to make sure the work being done in their home is covered. Ultimately, if something happens where it’s necessary to get the insurance companies involved they will likely duke it out to determine who is responsible/pays.

Vendor/Delivery/Installer/Sub-contractor Insurance:

You want to make sure that the people that are doing work in your client’s home that you recommend or hire are insured adequately. When you bring on uninsured people you are increasing your liability considerably. There are many grey areas for responsibility and coverage. For example, the plumbing for the entire house that you specified and the plumber ordered and was delivered to the client goes missing from the client’s home during construction - who’s responsible for replacement? What if the art that is in transit arrives and the next day it’s discovered that there is a small hole? What about the flooring that is installed and gets warped from a leaky faucet? Gaps in coverage can be fatal to your business - client’s can sue if they believe it to be your fault/responsibility - so it’s always a good idea to protect yourself by requiring insurance from all parties involved.

If you are not covered or not adequately covered, I hope I've scared you enough to call an insurance agent today.  You are playing with fire without it.  

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