What Insurance Do Architects Need?
As an architect, you design and advise clients about building projects. You provide different services, from construction drawings to estimating costs and reviewing on-site construction work. You need architect insurance to protect your professional work from lawsuits, property damage, and other claims.
Mistakes can happen during any phase of a project. An architect insurance package can be customized to your specific needs to protect you from any risks you may face.
Does your architect’s business serve corporate, commercial, or residential clients in Toronto? Are you in the downtown core or are you located in one of Toronto’s many neighbourhoods?
Do you have clients as an architect or as an architect technician/technologist in Scarborough, Etobicoke, North York, York, East York or are you in Mississauga, Brampton, Vaughan, Markham, Newmarket, Orangeville, or Milton? Are you further afield in Guelph, Kitchener, Waterloo, or London?
Wherever your architect’s business is located in Toronto, Greater Toronto Area (GTA) or anywhere in Ontario, your Western business insurance expert will give you top-notch insurance advice and ways to save on your insurance while being properly protected as a business owner.
Do I need to get insurance as an architect?
Yes, you need an insurance package for architects. Professional liability coverage is essential for architects and may be mandatory for your profession, depending on what province you are located in.
Different types of architects requiring insurance:
- Residential and commercial architects
- Architectural designers and engineers
- Restoration and landscape architects
How much does architect’s insurance cost?
Most architects typically have up to $2 million worth of coverage for both professional liability insurance and commercial general liability insurance, or more depending on the size of the business. The insurance premium you pay annually or monthly will depend on what type of architectural work that you do.
Without insurance, an error would be very costly to you as an architect. With architect insurance, you will be able to show builders and project managers that you are covered for any eventualities related to your profession.
The cost of architect insurance also depends on:
- The size of your architectural business and number of employees
- Degree of involvement in the design/build of a project
- Do you have any past claims?
- How long have you been in business
- How much revenue you expect to make in the upcoming year
- What is the value of any equipment
- Where is your office located
- Do you travel for your architectural work?
Did you know? Most architects complete a bachelor’s or master’s degree in architecture from a university program approved by the Canadian Architectural Certification Board (CACB). An alternative way to become an architect is with the apprenticeship offered through the RAIC Syllabus Program.
How will architect’s insurance protect my business?
An architect’s insurance package can help protect you from these 3 common claims:
1. You’ve overlooked a building’s structural problems and giant cracks have appeared in its foundation and walls. Your client sues you for negligence.
Professional Liability insurance policy may pay for your legal defence and help cover the outcome of the lawsuit.
2. A client who visits your architect’s office trips over an electrical cord to a space heater near your desk and injures her back.
Your Commercial General Liability coverage may help cover any uninsured costs to treat her injury.
3. You drive to a work site in your personal vehicle and another driver hits your car.
Commercial auto insurance would help cover the costs of repairing your vehicle.
Here’s an insurance checklist for architects and architect technicians/technologists:
- Do you have the best business insurance rate that suits your architecture business?
- Do you have the right amount for your deductible and regularly review it to make sure it’s the right amount for your architectural business?
- Do you know the value of your equipment and is it all properly insured?
- Are you or your employees using personal vehicles for your work?
At Western, we are business insurance experts. We will save you time and money by doing the insurance shopping for you to find the right package at the right value for your architect’s business.
What do I need in my architect’s insurance package?
Professional liability insurance
It’s also called errors and omissions (E&O) insurance.
Professional liability insurance is essential for you as an architect. As an architect, you could be held liable for any mistakes that may happen at any phase of the project.
It helps protect you and your employees against claims that allege:
- Failure to deliver a promised service
- Missed deadlines
- Going over budget
- Bad advice
It will help cover the costs of your legal fees and any settlements that might be reached against you.
Legal expense insurance
In the event you are sued by a client or former client, legal expense coverage gives you access to legal advice as well as the cost to retain a lawyer to defend you in court.
Commercial liability insurance.
Without commercial general liability insurance (CGL), you would be responsible for paying any liability costs on your own if a client were to get injured or her property damaged at your architect’s office. You will also hear CGL insurance called “slip-and-fall” insurance.
This type of coverage can also help protect your architectural business against allegations of false advertising, libel, or slander.
Commercial property insurance
Whether you own, rent, or lease the space where you run your architecture business, commercial property insurance will protect it from fire, vandalism, and theft.
Commercial property insurance not only protects the building but also provides coverage for your equipment, inventory, furniture, computers, and other electronics.
Business interruption insurance
Business interruption insurance can mean the difference between closing and not reopening.
If there is an insured loss at your architectural business that’s severe enough to prevent it from being reopened, the expenses associated with getting it running again will be covered.
This type of policy usually covers a disaster, such as a flood or windstorm, and other insured risks.
Your policy will help compensate you for lost income and expenses that you will need to continue paying even while you are unable to work.
Cyber Liability Insurance: If your architect’s business stores your client names, addresses and credit card information digitally and your computer system is hacked, cybercriminals can steal this information and sell it.
Without cyber insurance, you would be responsible for paying for the cost of restoring your system. You may also be liable for damages to third parties whose information has been stolen and you may have to pay for notification expenses to inform customers affected by a breach.
Commercial Auto Insurance
If you drive to work sites or meet clients at their homes or places of business, your architect’s business needs commercial auto coverage as part of your insurance package. Your personal car policies will not cover you or any employees driving as part of your work.
What do I do if my architect’s business has an insurance claim?
- Contact your broker immediately after any business-related mishap. Waiting to file a claim can confuse insurers about the severity of the damages to your business.
- Know your policy so that when you contact your broker you are familiar with what will be covered or not.
- Document the damage. Take photos right away and write down what happened.
- Do not throw away damaged goods after taking photos. Keep the physical evidence so that your adjustor can see it.
- Do not invite lawsuits. Don’t say anything that could be used against you, especially if you aren’t sure what happened.
- Be honest about what your damaged property is worth. Damaged commercial property is generally valued according to its actual cash value or replacement value.
Western Insurance has licensed BUSINESS INSURANCE EXPERTS to get your architect’s business the right insurance package. Our experts are available now to help you navigate the business insurance journey to protect your architect’s business.
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