Built to Last
A Business Insurance Guide for Architects, Engineers, and Design Professionals

Chapter 2: Building Your Business Protection Blueprint
Part 2: Industry-Specific Insurance Needs for Architects, Engineers, and Design Professionals
Certificates of Liability Insurance: Show Your Clients You're Covered

Though not a type of coverage, a Certificate of Liability Insurance is worth knowing about — especially in your line of work. It's simply a document that proves you have adequate liability coverage. It lists…

  • Your liability insurance policies.
  • Your coverage limits.
  • The name and contact information of your insurer.

You'll find occasion to show your Certificate of Liability Insurance when clients ask you for proof of your coverage. When this happens, you can contact your insurance agent, who will send the certificate to the interested party. Your certification demonstrates that you take your professional responsibilities seriously and can help give you a competitive edge over your competitors.

Many architects, engineers, and design professionals "moonlight" with extra projects that aren't associated with their employer's firm. Your employer might prohibit this kind of activity because side projects present additional liability risks for the company. But if you show your employer your Certificate of Liability Insurance, they can see that your risk exposures will be handled separately from their own.

But first, you'll need to buy your own coverage. We recommend that moonlighters carry General Liability and Professional Liability at the very least. Be sure your policies…

  • Are in your own name.
  • Explicitly exclude any work that you do with your employer's firm.

Next, give your employer a copy of your Certificate of Liability Insurance.

It's very important to remember that you should never lead your external clients to believe that your full-time employer is in any way associated with your side projects. Taking the above precautions will help establish this. But you should also make sure that work on your side projects is never done…

  • On your employer's premises.
  • With any of your employer's resources.

These actions could lead to legal woes ­ — for you and your employer.

Icon - Award Certificate

A Certificate of Liability Insurance can help demonstrate your professionalism and give you a competitive edge.

NEXT: Chapter 3: Special Insurance Considerations for Freelance Architects, Engineers, and Designers

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