Working as a CPA or managing an accounting firm isn’t an easy task. While you need to focus on employee performance, meeting deadlines, and keeping clients happy, how you manage business-related exposures also determines success.
True enough, a lot of things can go wrong. Clients might file a lawsuit. You might also experience business property loss or damage.
CPA and accounting insurance is a tailored coverage underwritten to cover the exposures accountants and accounting firms face. In this guide, know what it is, how much premium costs, the best companies, and more.
Accounting and CPA insurance is specialized coverage consisting of general liability, commercial auto, workers compensation, and other business insurance policies. Buy this insurance if your business is a:
Full-service accounting firm
Forensic accounting firm
Tax accounting firm
In connection, accountant insurance isn’t only available for accounting businesses. Carriers also offer it if you're working as a:
Accountants insurance for accounting firms and professionals offers a general liability policy. You use general liability insurance to cover personal injury and property damage claims filed by third parties.
Third parties, in the language of general liability insurance, pertain to clients, visitors, and vendors.
So is the policy important? The following information will help you appreciate the usefulness of general liability insurance for accountants and accounting firms:
An analysis of records shows that there are 409,925 personal injury cases in the USA
Plaintiffs in personal injury cases received $31,000 on average
The minimum settlement for property damage is $7,000 if the matter is taken to the Small Claims Court
General liability insurance has two main functions, and that is to:
Cover the cost of medical treatment if you’re liable for the injuries sustained by a third party
Provide refunds on your behalf if you’re liable for the property damage experienced by a third party
It might seem impossible for someone to sue you for property damage or injuries. Nonetheless, there are many situations where CPA liability insurance is practically useful such as:
A client, vendor, or any other third party slipping on the wet floor of your office
Seats, cords, and other objects tripping someone
Injuries or property damage caused by poorly maintained furniture or business environment
Companies that insure CPAs and accounting firms underwrite a general liability policy having a $1 million-$3 million per occurrence limit. The aggregate limit is set at $2 million-$3 million.
But still, some insurance companies allow you to customize your accountant liability insurance, making it possible to get as little as $500,000 coverage or as much as $5 million coverage.
General liability insurance for CPAs and accounting firms can have optional policies. These optional policies are:
Advertising injury coverage-Advertising injury coverage pays for court judgments, settlements, attorney fees, and other related expenses if a third party sues for slander, libel, copyright infringement, and invasion of privacy
Rented premises liability coverage-Rented premises liability coverage allows you to refund the owner if the space you’re renting for commercial purposes is damaged by fire
While most purchase general liability insurance as an annual or multi-year policy, there’s no stopping you from getting it as a short-term coverage.
Short-term general liability insurance for accountants provides protection for hours, days, weeks, or months only. This provides a $1 million-$2 million coverage.
Depending on which company you decide to get it, your short-term general liability insurance can be paused or canceled anytime. Also, it may or may not offer the optional policies we discussed previously.
A short-term general liability insurance is a good option if you’re not set on getting an annual general liability policy yet.
Also called professional liability or professional indemnity insurance, CPA errors and omissions insurance works in tandem with general liability insurance.
It must be clear to you that CPA E&O insurance doesn’t cover personal injury or property damage claims. It only covers lawsuits filed because there’s an issue with regard to how tasks were accomplished or carried out.
CPA professional liability insurance takes care of attorney fees, court judgments, settlements, and other related expenses if you, as an accountant, or your accounting firm committed actions that constitute malpractice. Examples are:
Failure to conduct a proper audit
Failure to detect misappropriations
Tax investment and securities fraud
Breach of confidentiality
Violation of fair dealing
So is E&O insurance for accountants and accounting firms essential? Here are some examples that will allow you to realize how important the policy is:
An established and well-known accounting firm based in New York that handles the finances of several big-name businesses was sued for $600 million by a private equity company located in Dubai
An accounting firm, headquartered in Chicago, had to pay $17 million in a professional negligence lawsuit for an insolvent HMO insurance plan
A big four accounting firm was sued for an audit fiasco in 1997 and had to pay $1 million as a settlement
Let’s talk about the policy limits of accountants professional liability insurance. This insurance has a $1 million-$5 million per occurrence limit. The aggregate limit is either $3 million or $5 million.
For comprehensive coverage, we suggest you get professional liability for accountants and accounting firms having a $3 million or $4 million per occurrence limit with a $5 million aggregate.
Accountants PI insurance is available as a claims-made policy or occurrence policy.
Claims-made professional liability insurance provides coverage if you report a covered peril after it happened. There must be no long delays or else the insurance company will reject your request.
When bought as an occurrence policy, CPA professional indemnity insurance provides coverage regardless of when you file a claim. In fact, you can even use it after it has expired so long as the peril happened while the policy’s terms were active.
You get CPA car insurance as a commercial auto policy. Commercial auto insurance is available as a primary inclusion or an optional coverage in the tailored insurance for accounting firms and accountants.
So when do you purchase commercial auto insurance? Consider purchasing this policy if:
You’re an accountant who owns a car and travels from place to place to audit different businesses
You’re accounting firm owns a vehicle that employees can use to attend meetings, fetch high-profile clients, and do other business-related activities
Employees use their own vehicles to run errands for your accounting firm
You must understand that commercial auto insurance is composed of several kinds of coverage. These, in turn, allow commercial auto insurance to cover exposures associated with a commercial vehicle:
Auto liability coverage-You use auto liability coverage to cover the medical treatments and losses of third parties who got involved in an accident your commercial vehicle caused
Physical damage coverage-Physical damage coverage helps you cover maintenance expenses without incurring losses. You purchase this as a collision or comprehensive policy. Collision physical damage coverage takes care of repair or replacement expenses if your commercial vehicle crashed into a car or object and sustained damage. As for comprehensive physical damage coverage, it takes care of costs if lightning, theft, hail, winds, vandalism, and other covered perils damage your commercial vehicle
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage-Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage pays for the driver and the passengers’ medical treatment and hospitalization if an accountant or an accounting firm’s commercial vehicle got involved in an accident an uninsured or underinsured driver caused
Medical payments coverage-Medical payments coverage covers the driver’s hospitalization and medical treatment if an accountant or an accounting firm’s commercial vehicle caused an accident or became the victim of one
Personal injury protection-Personal injury protection pays the driver and the passenger’s medical treatment, hospitalization, lost wages, and rehabilitation if the commercial vehicle of an accountant or accounting firm caused an accident or partook in one
Non-owned/hired auto liability coverage-Non-owned/hired auto liability coverage covers attorney fees, judgments, settlements, and other related expenses if an employee causes an accident with his car while running an errand for an accountant or accounting firm. Coverage also applies to hired or borrowed vehicles
The auto liability coverage in commercial auto insurance can’t be used to cover accidents resulting from the involvement of your commercial vehicle in criminal activities. Examples are:
Running away from police authorities
Running without the safety features prescribed by law
Also, be sure that the limits of your auto liability coverage conform with the minimum requirements of the state where you’re working as an accountant or operating an accounting firm.
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While the duties of accountants aren’t as strenuous as those of HVAC installers or carpenters, they’re still prone to work-related hazards.
Accounting assistants and accountants working for firms commonly sustain the following injuries because of work:
Fractures, bruises, or concussions due to slip and fall accidents
Repetitive strain injury
You must provide compensation if an employee sustains any of these work-related injuries. Workers' compensation insurance for CPA & accounting businesses allows you to do so without using personal or business funds.
Workers' compensation insurance covers the following expenses that an employee who sustained a work-related injury will request you to cover:
Medical expenses-If an employee needs to be rushed to the hospital, workers compensation insurance will pay for ambulance fees and emergency room fees
Hospitalization-You can use workers' compensation insurance to cover bills if your employee is admitted in the hospital after sustaining a work-related injury. Coverage applies even if the employee needs to stay in the hospital for weeks or months
Medication-Workers compensation insurance allows you to cover the cost of prescription medicines on behalf of an employee
Rehabilitation-An employee can request you to use workers compensation insurance to cover therapist fees, equipment, and other rehabilitation expenses
Lost wages-Workers compensation insurance sees to it that your employee can receive remuneration for lost income if he or she can’t work because of a work-related injury. In practice, this business insurance for accountants provides a weekly allowance equal to two-thirds or 67% of the average weekly wage.
Death benefits-Workers compensation insurance allows you to cover funeral expenses and provide an allowance to dependents if your employee dies due to a work-related injury
We heavily emphasized that workers' compensation insurance covers the resulting costs when an employee sustains a work-related injury. But note that this insurance also helps if your employee contracts a work-related disease such as:
Blood borne disease
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Heart attack and stroke (only if proven to be work-related)
Loss of eyesight
Black lung disease
Authorities require accountants and accounting firms employing one or more people to purchase workers' compensation insurance.
Coverage must be given to full-time employees, part-time employees, and contractors. Volunteers and unpaid interns don't need to be covered.
While worker's compensation insurance is expensive, shouldering the burden of its cost is better than facing the resulting problems if you don’t have it. The penalty varies from state to state. Here are some examples:
District of Columbia-Accountants and accounting firms who don’t purchase workers' compensation insurance for employees face a $1,000-$10,000 fine. In the case of accounting firms, the owner or manager can be also held criminally liable
New York-Failure to get workers comp insurance is punishable by a $2,000 fine for every 10 days the policy isn’t purchased
New Jersey-Authorities impose a $5,000 fine for every 10 days an accountant or accounting firm didn’t cover employees with workers compensation insurance
Rhode Island-Accountants and accounting firms that didn’t purchase workers' compensation insurance can face a $1,000 fine multiplied by the days the coverage is absent. They can also be held criminally liable and punishment is a 2-year imprisonment or a $10,000 fine
If you want to save money on workers comp insurance premiums, we suggest you get it as a stand-alone policy.
A stand-alone workers' compensation insurance takes your average monthly payroll into account when determining rates. This results in more accurate and cheaper premiums.
Employer’s liability insurance is another useful policy if you have employees. An employee who sustains a work-related injury or disease can sue you for negligence. Employer’s liability insurance covers this exposure.
So how does the insurance work? Employer’s liability insurance provides $1 million-$2 million insurance money you can use to cover settlements, attorney fees, and other related expenses when an employee files a claim.
Employer’s liability insurance is offered as a stand-alone policy or as an optional coverage to workers' compensation insurance.
Note that you don’t need this insurance anymore if you’re working as an accountant or operating an accounting firm in a state that provides an exclusive remedy to employers.
In states adopting the principle of exclusive remedy, employees who sustain a work-related injury can’t sue for negligence if their employer has workers' compensation insurance.
Cyber liability insurance is useful if you use software that handles the sensitive data of clients such as tax statements, addresses, or credit card numbers.
If sensitive data is leaked due to a data breach, you can use cyber liability insurance to pay for the following costs:
Professional services to contain the breach
Compensation for the losses of affected clients
Legal defense expenses
You should consider purchasing cyber liability insurance because data breach is expensive. Here’s an example:
A Portland accounting firm had to pay a $50,000 settlement after failing to disclose a data breach incident that affected 1,900 clients
Cyber liability insurance starts with a $1 million-$2 million per occurrence limit. But since cyber liability lawsuits are expensive, some insurance companies allow their cyber liability insurance to offer $3 million-$10 million per occurrence limit.
Commercial property insurance mainly covers the commercial buildings of accounting firms and the private office of accountants.
This CPA insurance coverage ensures that you can resume operations if any of the following happens:
Your private CPA office or accounting firm’s building sustains damage
Your private CPA office or accounting firm’s building is completely destroyed
Understand that you can only use commercial property insurance if any of the following damages or destroys your CPA office or accounting firm:
Sprinkler leakage and burst pipes
Commercial property insurance excludes business property damage or loss caused by earthquakes, floods, mudslides, and war.
Optional coverages can be added to commercial property insurance so that it doesn’t only cover a building but also what’s inside. Namely, these are:
Contents coverage-Reimburses financial losses if financial documents, furniture, installations, and other valuables got damaged or lost due to the perils in the bullet above
Equipment and tools coverage-Equipment and tools coverage refunds losses if computers and other tools used in accounting becomes damaged or lost due to the above-mentioned perils
In terms of how it provides reimbursements, commercial property insurance does so on a replacement cost or actual cash value basis.
On an actual cash value basis, commercial property insurance refunds losses based on the depreciated value of your covered property. For example, if your $1 million office was covered and it depreciated by 3% upon getting damaged, then commercial property insurance will only give you $30,000.
On a replacement cost basis, commercial property insurance refunds losses based on the original market value of a covered property. Going back to the previous example, if your office costs $1 million and got damaged, then you get the same amount no matter how much it depreciated.
Business interruption insurance covers business expenses while your operations are temporarily suspended. You claim this insurance policy if your business needs to be closed due to a renovation, relocation, or economic crisis.
With business interruption insurance, your financial reserves stay intact even if your business pays for payroll, loans, tax, and other related costs while closed.
Note that suspension of business operations due to war and pandemic is excluded in the terms of business interruption insurance.
Here’s a table showing the rates of CPA business insurance policies:
|Type of Coverage||Monthly Cost||Annual Cost|
|Auto Liability Insurance||$161||$1,932|
CPA liability insurance cost $38 per month or $456 per year for a $1 million general liability insurance. Carriers consider location, revenues, business size, experience, claims history, and number of employees when determining rates.
Accounting and CPA professional liability insurance cost $43 per month or $516 per year for a $1 million coverage.
Here’s another table showing the rates of the best CPA and accounting insurance companies:
|Cost per Month||Cost per Year||Best for|
|General liability and professional liability insurance for small accounting firms|
|CoverWallet||$30||$360||CPA insurance quotes comparison online|
|Tivly||$32.17||$386.04||Comparing CPA insurance quotes over the phone|
|Thimble||$35.90||$430.80||Short-term general liability policy for accountants|
|Hiscox||$39||$468||CPA and accounting firms providing services locally and abroad|
|AON||$41||$492||Professional liability and general liability package for CPAs and accounting firms|
|CNA||$43||$516||Comprehensive BOP for CPAs and accounting firms|
|AICPA||$47.25||$567||Accounting firm insurance for AICPA members|
Comparing quotes is the best way to get a thorough understanding of CPA insurance cost. Look at the offers and rates of different carriers by clicking the “Get Quotes” button.
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Here are the best CPA insurance companies. Read to know their pros, cons, and rate for a $1 million general liability policy.
Send your certificate of insurance as a text message, email, or social media post
Get a 10% discount when buying two or more insurance policies
Doesn’t sell excess liability insurance for CPAs and accounting firms
NEXT’s CPA and accounting insurance offers general liability, professional liability, commercial property, and workers compensation insurance. Your general liability insurance from this company starts with a $500,000 minimum limit. On the other hand, the minimum limit of professional liability insurance is $250,000.
Best for: General liability and professional liability insurance for small accounting firms
Average cost: $28 per month
Our rating: 9/10
Sells terrorism coverage
Add clients or landlords as additional insureds
General liability has a $300,000 minimum limit
Professional liability insurance is an occurrence policy
Not an insurance company but an insurance broker
CoverWallet is an insurance broker selling a specialized coverage for CPAs, which is made up of the business insurance products of its partners. Inclusions are general liability, commercial property, and professional liability insurance.
CoverWallet has an online quotes comparison platform you can use to view the offers and rates of different insurance companies. All you have to do is provide some basic business information.
Best for: CPA insurance quotes comparison online
Average cost: $30 per month
Our rating: 10/10
Build your own insurance plan
Responsive customer service
Doesn’t provide online quotes
Tivly (formerly CommercialInsurance.NET) covers CPAs and accounting firms. Policies you can avail from this company are general liability, workers compensation, commercial auto, cyber liability, excess liability insurance, and more.
Your general liability insurance from Tivly has a $1 million-$2 million limit. Also, you can decide to add hired/non-owned auto coverage to its terms.
This company allows you to build your insurance from the ground up. But in case you’re looking for other options, Tivly can match you with its partners.
Call Tivly now and compare quotes over the phone.
Best for: Comparing CPA insurance quotes over the phone
Average cost: $32.17 per month
Our rating: 10/10
Unlimited ACORD 25 certificate of insurance
Sells a short-term general liability policy
Doesn’t sell short-term professional liability insurance
Thimble’s specialized coverage for CPAs and accounting firms comes in the form of a business owner’s policy featuring general liability, commercial property, equipment breakdown, and hired/non-owned auto insurance.
Note that this company also sells a general liability policy on a short-term basis. You can choose to get covered for only hours, days, or weeks.
Best for: Short-term general liability policy for accountants
Average cost: $35.90 per month
Our rating: 9/10
Provides claims resources
Not accredited by BBB
AON underwrites general liability, professional liability, directors and officers liability, and excess liability insurance for CPAs and accounting firms. Work with this company because it provides strategic risk management services. It also provides free resources that help you file claims seamlessly.
Best for: Professional liability and general liability package for CPAs and accounting firms
Average cost: $41 per month
Our rating: 9/10
100 years experience
14-day money-back guarantee
No hidden fees
Many customers state that Hiscox’s claims process is poor
Hiscox’s CPA and accounting insurance offers cyber liability, professional liability, and general liability insurance. You can avail commercial auto and workers compensation insurance as add-ons. Choose Hiscox because it has considerable experience in protecting businesses in the financial sector.
Best for: CPA and accounting firms providing services locally and abroad
Average cost: $39 per month
Our rating: 8/10
Specializes in insuring big and small accounting firms
You can decide to have $0 deductibles
Sells health and retirement insurance plans for CPAs
You need to become a member
The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) covers the accounting firms of its members. This organization partners with AON to sell professional liability, cyber liability, employment practices liability, commercial property, and business interruption insurance to members.
AICPA liability insurance features various deductibles and limits to cater the needs of firms whose revenues are higher or lower than $400,000.
The deductibles of AICPA professional liability insurance are $0-$5,000. Limits, on the other hand, are $100,000-$2 million. Cyber liability coverage can be added to AICPA E&O insurance.
AICPA insurance rates aren’t the same for all members. But according to the organization, its general liability insurance costs $47.25 per month.
Best for: Accounting firm insurance for AICPA members
Average cost: $47.25 per month
Our rating: 8/10
Free risk management resources
Report a claim through fax, phone, email, or online
Comprehensive business owner’s policy
No instant online coverage
CNA accountants professional liability insurance is included in its insurance program for professional services organizations, which is also a tailored coverage for engineers, nurses, architects, and lawyers.
Other insurance products you can avail from this carrier are general liability, commercial auto, cyber liability, employment practices liability, workers compensation insurance, and more.
Note that CNA also offers risk management resources that allow you to address exposures before they happen.
Best for: Comprehensive BOP for CPAs and accounting firms
Average cost: $43 per month
Our rating: 8/10
This place is an absolute joke of a company and should be ashamed of the way they conduct business. I was hurt on the job at the end of July and it took them just shy of 7 weeks to issue out a paycheck to me. Yes the amount was back dated but still. Not many have the luxury of not receiving a paycheck for almost 2 months. To top it all off, the original adjuster marked me down for the wrong state which caused a problem from the get go, I've had 3 different adjusters now since each one can't seem to figure out the simplicity of my claim. All my paperwork which includes, my job, house, and drs visits all are from the same state and city but yet some how I have been filed under a completely different state 1500 miles away. They do not answer your phone calls or emails no matter how many you leave. I've had to escalate my frustrations to the supervisors of each of these individuals in order to even get some kind of response. I've had more communication and information given to me about my claim from the customer service representatives then the actual adjusters.......... please tell me how that works?! A serious overhaul needs to happen here in order to serve your clients the way they deserve to be taken care of. 10/10 do not recommend this company to a single soul on earth
I have never had the displeasure of working with a more incompetent and disrespectful person in my life. I’m an injured worker and the adjuster that was assigned to my case was named Carrie Furgeson. In the past 6 weeks that I’ve been injured and out of work I have only been able to get ahold of her twice, not for lack of trying. I have left countless voicemails, countless emails, and she ignores them all. When I am finally able to get ahold of her I’m greeted with terrible customer service. She is rude, she talks over me and I’m hardly able to get a word in edgewise. She spelled my name wrong on my documents even after I spelled it for her properly countless times, this caused a whole new issue with my bank. I have bill collectors from the hospital calling me demanding payment and Carrie Furgeson won’t do a single thing to help, or to get them paid. All of my documentation is in Colorado, my job is in Colorado, my address is in Colorado, all my Dr offices and appointments have been in Colorado and Carrie still managed to hold my claim because she wasn’t sure what state she needed to file it under. It’s been 6 weeks since my Injury and my company still hasn’t received the wage paperwork to fill out so they can get me my correct wages. When she’s not ignoring me she’s answering my questions with “I don’t know” well I don’t know how she got this job, because apparently she doesn’t know anything about it. She is a disgusting morose individual inside and out and I genuinely wish her the worst in all of her future endeavors. I highly recommend you don’t use this company. Please if you are a business owner and your looking into this company please don’t use them. I’m sure they have the cheapest payment and that’s why companies use them in the first place, but you will be doing your employees a grave disservice by forcing them to venture into this absolute dumpster fire of a company. I would rate 0/5 if possible but 1 was the lowest I was allowed.
Their general liability insurance purchase process is simply the best online experience I've ever had in my life!
As long as they cover your line of business, you're literally covered! best rates, best coverage, best online experience, best professionals, can't be happier that I chose them!
It really can't get any better than this... wow