Many things can go wrong for interior designers, from going over budget to personal injury, property damage, and more. As such, interior designer insurance has several components which cover each of these risks. At a minimum, an interior designer should have interior designer insurance, including a Business Owner’s Policy (BOP) covering both General Liability and Property. Professional Liability, also called Professional Indemnity, is also strongly recommended, particularly in states where there is licensing for interior designers. Finally, Commercial Auto may be necessary depending on if you use your personal or a company car, and Worker’s Compensation is required if you have employees on your payroll.
What is covered by Interior Designer Insurance?
Each piece of interior designer insurance covers different risks in your work as an interior designer:
- General Liability: Covers damage to other people and their property at a job location. This includes the cost of damaged furniture and fixtures and medical bills, pain, and suffering in the case of personal injury.
- Property: Covers damage to your property and tools of the trade, including computers, office furniture, drafting tables, designs, and more.
- Professional Liability/Professional Indemnity: Covers errors and omissions of various kinds like going over budget, exceeding time estimates, incorrect installation or measurements, and lawsuits where the final product is not what the client envisioned.
- Commercial Auto: This covers the cost of accidents involving business-owned automobiles, including damage to others’ vehicles, medical expenses if you are injured, physical damage, and legal fees if you are sued.
- Worker’s Compensation: This covers medical expenses of employees and possibly injured contractors (i.e., slips and falls, strained backs, or even carpal tunnel in an office setting).
What is a Liability in Interior Design?
The concept of liability is crucial to understanding why you need interior designer insurance. As an interior designer, you act on a client’s behalf, becoming their agent to design their home. Your choices, decisions, and actions – including selecting and buying furniture, hiring and managing contractors, taking measurements, and design choices – expose your client to liability in the form of losses of various kinds, both financial and personal. You have a fiduciary duty to use due care and act in the best interests of your clients. If you either fail to uphold that obligation, or your client feels you failed, you can be sued and may be liable. Interior designer insurance is critical for protecting yourself and your business.
Why Interior Designers Get Sued + Tips to Avoid It?
There are so many things that can go wrong with an interior design assignment. And even when things don’t go wrong from your perspective, the client could feel differently and sue you anyway, which is why interior designer insurance is important. Among the many things that interior designers get sued for are:
- Exceeding Budget or Time: Things happen, and sometimes it’s out of control when things run late or costs rise. Tip: Always communicate with your client if you think prices might change or you might need more time at any point in the project. Set reasonable goals and provide frequent updates to clients.
- Errors of all Kinds: The contractor took down the wrong wall, or measurements were made incorrectly, and now you need to invest more resources to correct it. Tip: Triple-check measurements and supervise essential work.
- Damage: Not just broken china, furniture, etc., damaged by moving, but also losses from fires, vandalism, and theft. Tip: Choose skilled, licensed professionals for your subcontractors, perform background checks, and ensure security systems and alarms are functioning.
- Injury: Improperly installed fans or lighting may fall, furniture can tip over when a child tries to climb it, and employees and contractors can slip and fall. All of these things and more can cause injury. Tip: Always choose items with safety in mind and use mats and other safety features when moving furniture.
- The Client Doesn’t Like the Work: Even when you do your best, the client may not like the result and sue you. Tip: Communicate thoroughly and promptly throughout the process, provide as many visuals as possible, and get interior designer insurance!
With so many ways for things to go wrong and designers to get sued, it is vitally important to get interior designer insurance to protect you and your business. Peninsula Excess Insurance Brokers, Inc. are Independent Agents providing superior customer service and affordable pricing to interior designers for decades. Contact us for a free quote on interior designer insurance for your business.