What Insurance Do Toronto Real Estate Agents Need?
Real estate agents have specialized knowledge in the sale and purchase of homes. Your job, though, isn’t without risks and mistakes. You need business insurance specifically tailored to the real estate industry.
If you are a real estate agent, you need what’s called real estate office insurance to protect yourself.
Where is your Toronto real estate business located? Do you serve corporate, commercial, or residential clients in Toronto? Is your Toronto real estate business located in the downtown core or are you located in one of Toronto’s many neighbourhoods?
Do you have clients as a real estate agent in Scarborough, Etobicoke, North York, York, East York? Is your Toronto real estate business in Mississauga, Brampton, Vaughan, Markham, Newmarket, Orangeville, or Milton? Are you further afield in Guelph, Kitchener, Waterloo, or London?
Do you work for a brokerage as a real estate agent or do you own your own brokerage?
Wherever you are working in the real estate industry, either as an agent or the owner of a brokerage, in Toronto or anywhere in Ontario, your Western business insurance expert will give you top-notch insurance advice. You’ll get ways to save on your insurance while being properly protected as a real estate professional.
Do I need to get insurance as a real estate agent?
Real estate office insurance is not legally required in Canada. It should be noted that in Ontario, real estate agents and real estate brokers must have professional liability insurance through the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO).
Real estate office insurance, it can also be called brokerage insurance, is a package of business insurance coverages that offer protection against financial loss for specific risks in your business. It's customized to fit your insurance requirements for property damage and liability issues.
Can you risk the potential financial implications of not having real estate office insurance? Can you afford to take that risk?
What’s in a real estate office insurance package?
Commercial General Liability (CGL) insurance
CGL insurance (CGL) coverage is an essential part of most business insurance policies. You may also hear it called “slip and fall” insurance.
Commercial general liability insurance covers legal fees and settlement expenses such as medical bills or replacement costs if you are found liable for third-party (client) bodily injury or property damage.
Commercial Property insurance
Your commercial office property can be damaged or destroyed by a natural disaster, fire, flooding, or vandalism. These events can be financially devastating if you don't have commercial property insurance.
Commercial property insurance not only protects the building but also provides coverage for your equipment, inventory, furniture, computers, and other electronics.
Commercial auto insurance
If you drive to meet clients or you drive to homes for sale that you are showing, you need commercial auto coverage as part of your real estate office insurance package. Your personal car policies will not cover you or any employees driving as part of your work.
Cyber Liability insurance: If you store your real estate clients’ names, addresses and financial information digitally and your computer system, cybercriminals can hack into your system and steal this information.
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.
There could be times when you need to entrust real estate agents and employees in your real estate office with taking cash deposits to the bank. With crime coverage as part of your real estate office insurance, you can recoup that loss through insurance compensation up to the limits of your policy.
Business interruption insurance
Business interruption insurance can mean the difference between closing and not reopening your real estate brokerage.
If there is an insured loss at your real estate firm 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 and your real estate office is closed.
How will real estate office insurance protect me?
A real estate office insurance package can help protect you from these 3 common claims:
1. A client comes to your office and slips and falls on a wet floor, injuring her back. She decides to sue you to pay medical bills not covered under provincial health insurance and to compensate the income lost during her recovery period.
Commercial general liability (CGL) insurance would cover your legal defence and any settlement costs up to the limits of your coverage.
2. You are on your way to show a client’s house that’s for sale in your personal vehicle and another driver hits your car.
Commercial auto insurance would help cover the costs of repairing your vehicle.
3. Your computer system has been hacked by cyberthieves. Your real estate clients’ names, addresses and financial information has been stolen.
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 (clients) whose information has been stolen and you may have to pay for notification expenses to inform clients affected by a breach.
What do I do if my real estate 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 real estate business the right insurance package. Our experts are available now to help you navigate the business insurance journey to protect you as a real estate agent.
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