Professional Liability (Errors & Omissions) Insurance
Adapted from content excerpted from the American Express® OPEN Small Business Network
Professional liability insurance, also commonly referred to as errors & omissions coverage, is the service equivalent to product liability insurance. It protects you financially in the case of a claim against you for negligence, errors, omissions, or wrongful acts in the performance of your duties. It includes coverage for malpractice, errors, and omissions.
Some states and professions require this coverage by law; for example, doctors are required to carry malpractice insurance, which is a form of professional liability coverage. In other cases, companies you do business with will require you to have it. For instance, computer consultants bidding for corporate contracts often must prove they have errors and omissions coverage, since errors in their work can put a corporation's computer system out of commission. It is also a common requirement in government services contracts. Even if you are not mandated to have it, it is wise to carry a policy if the service you provide could inadvertently harm another person. The professions for which it is recommended or required include, but are not limited to, computer technicians, systems analysts, accountants, hairdressers, lawyers, and consultants.
A good place to start your search for professional liability coverage is your trade association, since it will be familiar with the requirements for your profession. Often, these industry groups offer specialized liability coverage, or if they don't, can point you in the direction of a carrier that does. When you are shopping for professional liability insurance, be sure to ask if the coverage includes the cost of legal fees. Some policies are now being written with exclusions and limits on coverage for legal fees and court costs.
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