Chapter 4: Insuring Your Engineering, Architecture, or Design Firm
Part 3: When to Update Your Architecture, Engineering, or Design Firm's Business Insurance Policies
As your small business grows and changes, so do your insurance needs. This is particularly true for architects, engineers, and design professionals whose contracts frequently include insurance provisions.
Even if a change happens before its time to renew your plan, you can still update your policies. Most insurance plans include provisions for "significant events," which allows you to adjust coverage when you need to — even in the middle of the year.
So when should you call up your insurance agent? Any time your business…
- Moves to a new location. This is particularly true for business owners who are moving from a home office to a commercial one (and vice versa). Moving from rented to owned spaces is also considered a significant change. Chances are, the Property Insurance policy you purchased to protect your old space won't cut it in the new one. (Same goes for your General Liability Insurance.) Lastly, a move across state lines means you'll need to reevaluate your policies, as states have different insurance requirements.
- Adds or changes services. This could be anything from adding another specialization to partnering temporarily with another professional. In the design industry, some projects are inherently riskier than others. If you are an architect who starts working on a lot of condo developments, for example, you might require a higher limit on your Professional Liability policy.
- Purchases a business vehicle. Makes, models, and years of vehicles can all affect premium prices. The same holds true for purchasing new personal vehicles, so long as you use those vehicles for work.
- Expands its operations. If the time comes for you to hire employees, a phone call to your insurance agent is in order. As soon as you hire someone, you're subject to state laws that regulate Workers' Compensation Insurance. (To learn more about your state's requirements, check out our guide "Workers' Compensation Insurance Laws by State.")
When your small business experiences a significant change, it's time to update your insurance policies.
NEXT: Conclusion & Quick Resources