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Architects have a lot to consider when creating a design, including building codes, geography, project budget and the space’s intended function. Miss a deadline, measurement or safety regulation and your firm could face legal action. The right business insurance can protect architects from the financial blow of those lawsuits.
Here are more details about business insurance for architects, including its cost, coverage options and top providers.
What types of business insurance do architects need?
Professional liability insurance is a must for most architects. It pays for legal fees, court costs and settlements stemming from accusations of mistakes, missed deadlines and cost overruns, among other things.
Architects who regularly work on job sites may also want general liability insurance to safeguard against claims of physical damage or bodily injury. And those with employees are legally required to carry workers’ compensation insurance in most states.
There are other types of coverage your firm may need depending on the scope of your work. Below are some common types of business insurance for architects and what each one covers.
Type of insurance
What it pays for
Find a provider
Legal costs related to claims of mistakes or negligence, including breach of contract or missed deadlines. (Also referred to as errors and omissions insurance.)
Third-party claims of bodily injury or property damage. Clients may request you carry this coverage.
Combines general liability insurance with commercial property coverage, which protects owned or rented office space and equipment (electronics, workstations and tools) that are damaged due to fire, vandalism or other covered events.
Expenses related to accidents, such as property damage and injuries, when driving a covered vehicle to and from job sites or for business purposes.
Medical bills for employees and/or contractors who suffer a work-related illness or injury. Required in most states if you have at least one employee.
How much does architect insurance cost?
The median cost of professional liability insurance for architects is $145 per month or $1,730 per year, according to Insureon, an online marketplace for small-business insurance.
Additional coverage, like general liability or workers’ compensation, is a separate cost. The median rates for coverage, according to Insureon, are as follows:
General liability insurance for architects: $35 per month, $425 per year.
Business owner’s policy for architects: $65 per month, $790 per year.
Workers’ compensation insurance for architects: $50 per month, $600 per year.
These median rates give a good baseline, but actual rates will depend on the size of your business, where it's located and any prior claims, among other factors. Get multiple quotes and compare premiums and coverage limits before making a decision, as business insurance premiums can vary greatly from one provider to the next.
Top options for architect insurance
These providers offer professional and general liability insurance for architects. All of them have strong financial ratings (excellent or superior) from AM Best, a trusted credit rating agency focused on the insurance industry, or work with firms that carry these ratings.
Victor: Best for small firms
Deep industry expertise.
Insurance solutions for small firms, including $0 deductible options.
Coverage in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and U.S. territories.
Quotes available only through a broker.
Why we like it: Victor Insurance began specializing in insurance for architects and engineers in 1957, offering the first policy tailored to the industry. It now handles the professional liability insurance offered by the American Institute of Architects. Victor Insurance offers $0 deductible coverage for firms with less than $500,000 in annual billings and fewer than 12 employees. You must work with an insurance broker to get a quote and purchase a policy. Business owners should note: Victor is an underwriter rather than an insurer. It works with insurers such as Aspen and CNA to offer its coverage.
Hiscox: Best for online quotes
Quotes available online or through an agent.
Discount for bundling policies.
Professional liability policies cover work done worldwide.
Policy limits top out at $2 million.
Why we like it: Hiscox offers online quotes and the ability to purchase your policy entirely online, a bonus for architects who need insurance quickly and have a firm grasp on their coverage needs. Coverage limits on professional liability policies are capped at $2 million, which may not provide enough protection for firms that handle high-dollar projects.
Full review: Hiscox business insurance.
Chubb: Best for high policy limits
Up to $15 million coverage limit for professional liability insurance.
Above-average customer satisfaction rating.
Premiums can be pricey.
Why we like it: Chubb is a solid option for firms that work on high-stakes projects. The insurer offers coverage limits of up to $15 million for professional liability coverage (a standard policy has a $1 million coverage limit). And Chubb earned an above-average customer satisfaction rating in J.D. Power’s annual Small Commercial Insurance Study. Businesses with annual revenue of $1 million or less can get a quote and purchase a policy online. Those with revenue over $1 million need to work with an agent to obtain coverage.
Full review: Chubb business insurance.