When it came time to renew my business insurance, I shopped around. I called various agents and spent a considerable amount of time with them. A few quotes were unreasonably high. Some were even ridiculously low and weren’t adequate for my business needs. Others wouldn’t insure me at all because they didn’t understand my business. Some didn’t like the fact that I frequently use independent contractors.
Finally, I talked withan insurance agent who understood my business and was able to recommend the right coverage for my situation. It is so important to have the right types of coverage in our profession as professional organizers. I never knew just how much it mattered until my agent explained it to me.
A good insurance agent will want to know all about your business operations. They should also have the patience to clearly explain the details and importance of insurance for those in our industry. It is not unusual at all for a representative to spend at least 45 minutes on a first phone call with a prospective client.
The Five Areas of Coverage Recommended
1. Comprehensive General Liability Coverage
Whether you have a home-based business or operate out of a separate location, as a professional organizer you need insurance because you create liability when you provide services for others for a fee. First, you have to have basic general liability coverage. It protects you in case you’re accused of bodily injury or property damage to others.
2. Care, Custody, and Control Coverage
One of the first and most important services professional organizers provide is coaching and teaching clients how to make their own final decisions to keep, sell, give away, or throw away items. During that process, it’s not unusual for you to handle your clients’ goods. Make sure that your property damage coverage is properly endorsed to protect yourself in the event you damage a client’s goods while handling them.
3. Professional Errors and Omissions Liability Protection
Errors and Omissions Liability Protection covers you if you are sued by a client who blames you for a financial loss that they feel they’ve incurred. This loss could be due to something you may have done (an error), or something you should have done, but didn’t (an omission). This type of insurance also protects you from clients who make decisions on their own (based on counseling advice that you gave) and then blame you when they are not happy with the decision or outcome.
Here is an example of an error: A client accuses you of advising her to give away or throw away a blue rooster lamp that her cousin now says is worth $50,000. Since you handled the organizing, the client blames you and decides to sue. To help guard against these types of situations, you might take good digital photographs of the home before beginning your work. Then create an inventory sheet listing each item. Next to each item on the list, the client must initial each decision – indicating whether to keep the piece, give it away, sell it, or throw it away.
4. Business Contents or Property Coverage
Remember you need to insure your own business as well. A lot of professional organizers run their offices out of their homes. Most, if not all, homeowners’ insurance policies exclude anything having to do with business operations. Everything used in a business is considered business property. This includes a desk, computer, postage, printed brochures, client contracts, or inventory sheets. It’s especially important to cover the computer hardware and software, such as programs for photo documentation, forms, inventory sheets, etc.
5. Non-Owned and Hired Auto Liability Protection
Many organizers set up their companies as LLC’s or sole proprietorships where their business policy covers that business entity. However, organizers then usually drive their vehicles (titled in their personal name) when doing business. In this case, their personal autos are not automatically covered. Make sure to tell your auto insurance agent that you use your car to promote and market your business. The agent should then make sure to add the appropriate coverage.
I highly advise you as a professional organizer or productivity consultant, to make sure that you get the coverage you need to protect yourself and your business.