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Insurance for Interior Designers
As an interior designer, you help create functional and inspiring living and working spaces for homeowners and businesses. But when you work in someone else's home or office, you can be held responsible when something goes wrong. After all, it only takes one misjudgment to damage client property or to make a design choice that hurts someone.
Interior design insurance can help address the common liabilities that go hand-in-hand with running an interior decorating business. Here's a look at some of the interior designer insurance policies you may need.
General Liability Insurance
General Liability Insurance is usually the first policy interior designers buy. It can cover common claims, such as when a third party (i.e., client, contractor, supplier, or a visitor) sues your business over:
- Damaging their property.
- Causing a bodily injury.
- Committing libel or slander.
These lawsuits can happen if your interior design business damages a client's home or causes them injury. For example, let's say you set up a ladder at a client's home to take measurements for new window treatments. While you and your client review fabric swatches, the client's child climbs the ladder and falls. In that situation, General Liability Insurance may pay for:
- The child's immediate medical expenses or your legal expenses if the client sues over the child's injury.
- The repair costs for the client's wall after the tipped ladder scratched it.
Accidents can happen any time, which is why General Liability is such an important coverage.
Business Owner's Policy
Your interior design business may qualify for a Business Owner's Policy (BOP), which combines General Liability Insurance and Commercial Property Insurance. Most businesses pay less for a BOP than they would if they purchased these two policies separately.
Commercial Property Insurance can cover your business property (e.g., staging items, laptops, etc.) when it's lost or damaged by:
- Theft or burglary.
Even if you work from a home office, you may need Commercial Property Insurance to protect your work equipment and office space. Most homeowner's policies don't cover business property.
Professional Liability Insurance
Professional Liability Insurance (also called Errors & Omissions Insurance or E&O Insurance) can help out when a client claims you made poor design choices. For example, E&O Insurance may pay for your legal expenses when a client sues you over:
- Incomplete work.
- Goods and services that were not what the customer wanted or agreed to.
- Mistakes, oversights, and other professional shortcomings.
Let's say you help out with a kitchen remodel. Everything looks great, and the client is thrilled. But two months later, there's a problem. The finish on the cabinets you picked starts chipping, and the client alleges you didn't choose high-quality fixtures like they requested. If the client sues your interior decorator business, Professional Liability Insurance can pay for the costs associated with the lawsuit.
Workers' Compensation Insurance
If you have employees, you may need to purchase Workers' Compensation Insurance (also called Workers' Comp or Workman's Comp). Each state has its own Workers' Comp laws, so check out your obligations.
Workers' Comp can help pay for an employee's workplace injury or illness, including…
- Medical bills.
- Physical rehabilitation costs.
- Partial lost wages.
So if an employee slips and falls while touring a client's home to make design recommendations, Workers' Comp can pay for their medical bills.
Commercial Auto Insurance
As an interior designer, you probably spend a lot of time driving to visit clients. Commercial Auto Insurance can cover accidents that happen while driving your personal vehicle or a company vehicle for work.
You may think your personal auto insurance policy will pick up the tab if you get in a collision en route to drop off some paint swatches for a client. But personal auto insurance usually excludes coverage for accidents that occur while driving for work. Your insurance agent can help you pick the appropriate Commercial Auto policy to protect your interior design business on the road.