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Architect Insurance: Liability, Cost & Quotes From $5

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As an architect, you are responsible for designing and conceiving buildings according to what your client wants. You also work with other contractors on-site to build different residential or commercial structures. Even though this profession doesn't condone any mistakes, they still happen.


Working with different people also creates some risks. In case of any mistakes that affect the quality of the building, your client can file a claim against you. This is why it is vital to have architect insurance that protects you against such claims.


Read on as we discuss the bits and piecesof business insurance for architects and what it covers. We will cover topics like architect liability insurance and what it covers, architects professional liability insurance and what it is, architects E&O insurance coverage, architect insurance requirements, as well as architect insurance cost, to give you an idea of how much you can spend on it. Lastly, we will review some of the best architect insurance companies offering quality architect business insurance,building designer insurance and insurance for architectural technicians and designers in America.


Also read:

Architect Liability Insurance

Architect general liability insurance coverage protects you against claims of property damage or bodily injury injuries. For instance, when a client gets injured in your office, architect liability insurance will protect you. Liability insurance for architects will cover medical expenses and other related costs. 


Just like graphic design liability insurance and plumbing liability insurance , architect liability insurance also protects architectural business from claims of slander, libel, and copyright infringement if added with products and completed operations coverage. 


It is crucial to note that this architect's business insurance coverage does not protect you against claims that relate to your professional services, and this leads us to the next topic.



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Architect Professional Liability Insurance

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Architect professional liability insurance, also referred as architects professional indemnity insurance, architects PI insurance, and architects PII insurance, protects your architectural firm and employees against professional-related claims. For instance, when you make an error or act negligently, professional insurance for architects will protect you from emerging claims. Professional liability insurance is different from general liability insurance in the sense that it only covers claims arising from your errors and omissions as a professional architect.


On the other hand, general liability covers things like property damage or accidents that result in injury. Furthermore, general liability insurance policies are relatively standard compared to professional liability insurance. Professional liability insurance has more specialized and diverse functions. For better understanding, here are some of the areas professional liability insurance covers.


Negligence

Most claims arising from professional liability result from the architect's being negligent, which in turn result in the failure to meet client expectations. Clients might file a claim if they experience economic or financial losses. Professional liability insurance covers negligence claims. It will help you shoulder attorney fees, other legal costs, and settlements.


Substandard Work

As a skilled architect with a lot of experience, you cannot deliver below-average projects that are way below expectations. However, some uneducated clients might want you to do things according to their wishes. While they think they are correct, what they want could be impossible from a professional point of view. This results in numerous misunderstandings in the course of the project. No matter how much you try to clarify things, a client might file a claim against you. Architects and engineers professional liability insurance will protect you against such claims.


Non-Traditional Practices


Architects Errors and Omissions (E&O) Insurance

When a client files a claim against your architectural business, you need to prepare for consequences. Generally, lawsuits against architects are costly and could result in severe financial losses. Without architects errors and omissions insurance, also known as architect E&O insurance, you risk losing a lot of money on settlements.

Whether you make an omission on the project's blueprint or the client doesn't like the color scheme you used, architect e&o insurance can help pay legal fees that could otherwise affect your operations. Not all building designs go precisely as planned, which means the chances of a lawsuit are high. Therefore, you should get architect insurance cover to protect your architectural business against these claims.

How Much Liability Insurance Should You Get?

A $1 million general liability insurance provides basic protection against property damage, personal injuries, slander, libel, and copyright infringement. However, $1 million general liability might not be enough and it’s best if you decide to get more. This is because personal injury claims, property damage claims, and copyright infringement claims can be worth more than $1 million. And so, decide to get a $2 million general liability coverage.


How about professional liability insurance? Is $1 million - $2 million coverage enough? The answer is no. To understand why, let’s take a look at some examples of professional liability claims against architects and their cost.

  • An architect in charge with the design of a mixed-use development in Washington D.C was sued by the contractor for $5 million. The claim was filed because the architect submitted design documents with substantial errors and omissions

  • Princeton University sued a New York city architectural firm for a staggering $10.7 million because the defendants were careless with the project and took long to finish it

  • The Massachusetts Institute of Technology sued a renowned architect for $300 million because the completed project had defects such as leaky springs, cracked masonry, and mold buildup.


As you can see from the above examples, professional liability claims involving architects are worth more than $1 million. And so, the smart thing to do would be to find a carrier that underwrites a professional liability insurance offering more than $5 million in coverage.


Hold Harmless Agreement for Architects

General liability and professional liability can provide a helping hand if ever a client sues your business. However, both only cover costs and won’t help to salvage your business’s reputation. Prevention is better than cure. And so, consider making your client’s sign a hold harmless agreement.


A hold harmless agreement is a statement which you can include on a project’s contract. There are two types of hold harmless agreements - unilateral and mutual. Once signed, a unilateral hold harmless agreement will lessen the chances of the client suing you for their loss. On the other hand, a mutual hold harmless agreement, if signed, will lessen the possibility of you and the client suing each other.

Hold harmless agreements aren’t illegal. However, they can be voided. The legality of a hold harmless agreement can be contested when:

  • During negotiation, you have an unfair advantage over the client

  • The wording of hold harmless agreement is too broad


Always include a hold harmless agreement in the terms of a project’s contract. By doing so, you can further mitigate risks even if insurance is ready to help. Hold harmless agreement will make it less likely for you to file claims. This in turn will allow you to enjoy cheaper premiums or avail special offers from the carrier.


Architect Commercial Auto Insurance

As an architect, traveling is part of your job. And when using your vehicle for work, your personal car insurance premiums might suddenly increase. If this happens, consider switching to commercial auto insurance. Alternatively, it might be possible to upgrade your personal car insurance to commercial auto insurance.


Commercial auto insurance has auto liability coverage that gets into action if you caused an accident and injured third parties or destroyed property. This coverage will shoulder lawyer fees, other legal costs, and compensation to affected parties.


Other Useful Insurance Policies: Commercial Property, Workers Compensation, and More

General liability and professional liability are enough if you’re an independent architect. But if you’re running an architectural firm, consider buying more protection. Insurance policies that will be practically useful for your business are:

  • Workers compensation insurance

  • Employer’s liability insurance

  • Commercial property insurance

  • Cyber liability insurance


Workers Compensation Insurance

Your architectural firm has a lot of employees dealing with building projects, financial records, marketing, and other tasks. Employees can still get injured though their work isn’t as risky as that of window cleaners or landscapers. Common injuries are carpal tunnel, stiff neck, and chronic back pains.


If injured employees need to take a break from work to recuperate or need money to get treatment, then know that you have the obligation to shoulder costs. Of course, using your architectural firm’s funds is out of the question. This is where workers compensation insurance becomes handy.


Workers compensation insurance covers an injured employee’s treatment, medical bills, and after-hospital visits. It also supplements lost income in case the employee can’t go to work for a while. The amount of allowance an employee can get from workers comp is equal to ⅔ of his or her average weekly wage.


Premiums for workers compensation aren’t cheap. However, you can do nothing but get this one. There’s a penalty for failing to get workers compensation insurance. For example, if your architectural firm is in Alabama, then you might get fined $1,000 multiplied by the number of days the injured employee didn’t receive any workers comp benefits.


What Do You Do If You Can’t Get Workers Comp for Your Architectural Firm?

Qualify for a state insurance fund if you can’t get workers comp. A state insurance fund allows businesses to pay for an injured employee’s compensation. In fact, it provides the same benefits workers compensation insurance offers. Contact the workers comp department of the state where your architectural firm is located to know the requirements.


Employer’s Liability Insurance

Employees might blame you for any work-related injuries. Particularly, they’ll say that you’re negligent in mitigating job hazards in the workplace. General liability won’t cover claims from employees. Instead, what provides coverage is employer’s liability insurance .


Employer’s liability insurance shoulders costs if an employee sues you. You can use the insurance money this policy provides to pay for attorney fees, legal costs, and compensation to the aggrieved employee.


You can add employer’s liability insurance to workers comp insurance. However, don’t do this. Are you asking why? Only a few know this but in most states’ workers comp laws, employees are prohibited from filing a claim if their employer has workers compensation insurance.


Commercial Property Insurance

You’ll suffer heavy losses if your architectural firm’s building gets damaged or totaled by fire. Other causes of damage might be vandalism, theft, riot, or extreme weather. Consider getting commercial property insurance because it will help a lot.


Commercial property insurance will help you reconstruct the building if it burns to the ground. It will also take care of repairs if the building got damaged by fire, riot, theft, vandalism, and other covered perils.


Understand that basic commercial property insurance has two loopholes. For one, it doesn’t cover business equipment and other important materials inside the building. Secondly, it doesn’t provide coverage if you’re renting a commercial space.


To solve the first loophole, carriers allow you to get optional coverages namely, business equipment and stocks and contents coverage. Business equipment coverage will provide money if computers and other work tools get damaged or lost because of fire, theft, vandalism, fire, and other covered perils. On the other hand, stocks and contents coverage will cover the cost of destroyed blueprints and other important documents and materials inside your architectural firm’s building.


The second loophole is solved by rented premises coverage. Commercial property insurance with rented premises coverage does either of two; reimburse the property owner’s expenses for repairing or rebuilding a damaged rented space or give you money so that you can get the rented space rebuilt or repaired.


Cyber Liability Insurance

If your architectural firm uses a website or any other related platform to market services and collect payments, then decide to get cyber liability insurance. This policy will be very useful if someone breaches the system and sensitive information such as client credit cards, addresses, phone numbers, and bank account numbers are exposed.

Cyber liability insurance will shoulder lawyer fees, other legal costs, and settlements if affected clients file a lawsuit against your business. It will also cover payments for public relations needed to inform concerned stakeholders about the breach.


Do You Need Builder's Risk Insurance?

Most architectural firms only design a building project. They don’t execute the plans nor oversee the construction. Builder's risk insurance is only for entities or individuals who are directly involved with a project. In this sense, your architectural firm doesn’t need builder's risk insurance


On the other hand, if your architectural firm is big and offers construction services, then get builder's risk insurance. This one will cover costs if something wrong happens and the construction project or materials incurs damage.


Architect Insurance Cost

The average architect insurance cost is $48 per month or about $576 per year for a small architect's $1m general liability insurance policy. Architect insurance is vital because it protects architects against lawsuits that could result in severe financial losses and its liability insurance cost is rather affordable in most cases. To give you an accurate estimate of architect insurance cost, here is a summary of some of the best architect insurance companies and how much they charge:

Company Cost per Month Cost per Year Best for
Coverwallet $30 $360 Architect insurance quotes comparison online
Next $38 $456 Fastest architect liability insurance policy
Hiscox $48 $576 Home-based architects
Progressive $59 $708 Best Overall & Established Architects
The Hartford $60 $720 BOPs & Insurance for Larger Architectural Firms with Many Employees
AIG $70 $840 International Architects


Architect Professional Liability Insurance Cost

Architect professional liability insurance cost is slightly cheaper than architect general liability insurance. This is because the risks covered by this coverage type are common. The average architects PI insurance cost of insurance for architectural designers is $43 per month which comes to an average annual cost of $516 a year. It is important to note that different factors determine architect professional indemnity insurance cost. Some of them include;

Type of Project

Some projects cost more than others. For example, a project that involves the construction of a multistorey building is susceptible to lawsuits. Projects like skate park construction could result in more injuries.

Claims History

This refers to the history of the architectural firm in question and the claims related to the project. If the project's claim history is high, the insurance cost is higher.


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Best Architect Insurance Companies

Due to the many risks associated with architectural businesses, there are many insurance companies offering architect insurance. However, the quality and coverage vary from one insurance company to another. Therefore, you need to go for a reputable insurance company with the best policy. Here's a review of the best. Read to know their pros, cons, and pricing for a $1 million general liability coverage. 


Coverwallet Architect Liability Insurance


Pros

  • Offers tailored architect insurance quote comparison online

  • Competitive rates from leading commercial insurers in your sector on a digital marketplace

  • You can buy insurance online in no time

Cons

  • Not an insurance broker but a carrier offering the quotes of its partners


Coverwallet Insurance has been in operations for many years as a digital marketplace for business insurance and was recently acquired by AON. Thanks to its comprehensive online architect insurance quote comparison, Coverwallet enjoys massive membership and loyalty and helps hundreds of thousands save big money on their commercial insurance needs while finding them the best policies from the best commercial insurers for their industry.


Coverwallet offers tailored architect insurance quotes comparison online that covers a wide range of risks. Apart from general liability insurance, you can also have professional liability insurance for architects as well as all the other business insurance products such as BOPs, workers comp, commercial.


Best for: Online architect insurance quote comparison

Average cost: $30 per month

Our rating: 10/10


NEXT Architect Liability Insurance


Pros

  • Offers the fastest coverage

  • Comprehensive architect insurance coverage

  • Tailored insurance for architects

Cons

  • Mainly digital


NEXT Insurance is a reputable innovative digital insurance company with customized business insurance policies. Thanks to its comprehensive and fast coverage underwriting process, Next architect liability insurance is a great option for architects in America. Next insurance offers several architect insurance policies. Whether you want general or professional liability insurance, or some broader coverage, you will have it here.


Best for: Fastest coverage

Average cost: $38 per month

Our rating: 9/10


Hiscox Architect Insurance


Pros

  • Available in many countries

  • Offers tailored insurance policies

  • Quick claim responsiveness

Cons

  • Some customers complained that Hiscox increases premiums without prior notice


Hiscox is an established insurance company with global prominence. It offers comprehensive insurance cover for a wide range of businesses, including architects. No matter your location, you can purchase an insurance policy from Hiscox because it has offices in most countries.

If you want a comprehensive insurance cover for your architectural business, consider purchasing one from Hiscox. They offer both general and professional liability insurance for architects. However, the cost of these policies could be high because they are very comprehensive.


Best for: International and home-based architects

Average price: $48 per month

Our rating: 8/10


Progressive Architect Liability Insurance


Pros

  • Fast coverage

  • Comprehensive insurance cover

  • Affordable

Cons

  • Not available in many countries


Progressive Insurance Company has been in existence for many years. Over that period, it has established itself as a reliable and reputable insurance company. It offers insurance cover for a wide range of businesses, including architects.


Progressive Insurance offers the best policies for architects. Their professional liability insurance policy covers hundreds of claims, protecting your business against lawsuits.


Best for: Best overall architect liability insurance policy

Average cost: $59 per month

Our rating: 7/10


The Hartford Architect Insurance


Pros

  • Affordable

  • Monthly payments with no extra fees

  • Offers tailored architect insurance

Cons

  • Not available in some countries


The Hartford Insurance Company is a prestigious company with unique insurance cover. As an architect, you can benefit immensely from their unique policies.


It offers professional liability insurance that helps you protect your architectural design business from claims arising from professional services. These claims could be a result of negligence or omissions.


Best for: BOPs and insurance for architects with employee

Average cost: $60 per month

Our rating: 6/10


AIG Architects & Engineers Liability Insurance


Pros

  • Comprehensive coverage

  • Fast claim responsiveness

  • Available in most countries

Cons

  • Some claims are not covered


AIG is one of the oldest insurance companies in the world. It is a prestigious company offering some of the best policies and coverage.


AIG offers comprehensive professional liability insurance for architects. This policy covers a wide range of risks associated with the profession, like errors and omissions.


Best for: Freelance and international architects and architectural contractors

Average cost: $70 per month

Our rating: 5/10

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