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).
Grow Your Interior Design Business with Subcontractors
If you are looking to grow your interior design business, it will most likely involve setting up partnerships with subcontractors. When working with subcontractors, it is important to have written contracts in place, specifically outlining the tasks, timelines, and responsibilities as well as non-compete, indemnity, and defense clauses. PenEx, powered by villaNOVA Insurance Partners, has created contracts specifically for interior designers that are free for members to use and written by our risk and claims management attorneys.
Another way to protect your business while working with subcontractors is through liability insurance for interior designers. Each subcontractor should be covered by their own insurance or added to your interior design insurance policy. Get a quote or call us at (877) 438-7369 for more information.
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 aesthetics – 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. Liability insurance for interior designers is critical for protecting yourself and your business.
Top 6 Subcontractors that Interior Designers Hire
If you are looking to grow your interior design business, the best way to do it is to set up partnerships with specific subcontractors that you can work with on a regular basis. Subcontractors can help you take on larger, more complex projects as well as offer mutual business referrals.
- General Contractor: Interior design often requires removing walls, gutting a bathroom, or changing the layout of a kitchen. This work requires an experienced general contractor and their team to make sure the job is done to code and the work lasts. Many interior designers hire general contractors to help them complete their vision and impress the client.
- Artists or Painters: Professional artists or painters are one of the most common and valuable assets to subcontract with. Their skills can bring a room to life, adding brightness or originality to your interior design. Finding artists and painters that compliment your aesthetic can help you tie a room together and set you apart from the competition.
- Seamstress : If you want to customize the curtains, quilts, drapery, cushions, or even the napkins, then subcontracting with a seamstress can be the right solution. Seamstresses can enhance your interior design when you can’t find the right fabric or upholstery ready-made.
- Carpenter: Often, rooms have odd dimensions or large open spaces that require custom made furniture. Subcontracting with a carpenter that can transform a piece of wood into a work of art customized for the space can become the focal point of a room. Carpenters can help you get the most use out of a space or create a one-of-a-kind piece that will thrill the client.
- Lighting Designer: Light is an integral aspect of actually living in a space. Subcontracting with a good lighting designer will help make your interior design livable and pleasing to your clients after the job is done. Lighting designers know what type of bulbs to use, where to add light, and how to enhance the natural light in a room, highlighting your design.
- Architect: Making sure a building and all of its renovations are safe and structurally sound is of paramount importance to any interior designer. Therefore, an architect is one of the six most valuable subcontractors to an interior designer
Why Interior Designers Get Sued and 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.