What is estate agent insurance?
Estate agent insurance is not one specific policy, but rather a set of policies that can cover you against everything from claims of professional negligence to accidents involving members of the public, or damage to your office and equipment.
One of the biggest risks you’ll face as an estate agent is being held liable for a decision that results in financial loss for your client or causes a contract to fall through. That’s why professional indemnity insurance for estate agents, which covers claims for loss or damage because you provided poor advice or a bad service while the insurance policy was in place, should be the main feature of your policy. Claims can be made against you whether the advice was paid for or free.
A client can make a claim for negligence against you for up to six years after the event took place, so if you decide to change insurers, or to leave the profession you’ll need to buy a ‘run-off’ policy to cover you against any future claims.
Another big risk is causing injury, or death, to a member of the public or damage, theft or loss of their possessions during your business activities. Whether that’s someone tripping in your office and twisting their ankle, or you smashing the window of a client’s property, public liability insurance can cover legal costs and provide compensation.
If you have other agents working for you, you are legally required to have employers’ liability insurance in case they’re in an accident or their property is damaged whilst at work. The only exception to this is if your staff are immediate family members, or based abroad.
You may need to protect your office and equipment with buildings and contents cover. If you own your office premises, buildings cover is designed to protect the structure of your building from unforeseen events – a flood or fire, for example. If you rent your office, your landlord will generally provide this, though you may want to take out fixtures and fittings insurance – perhaps you’ve added a kitchen for your employees, for example.
Whether you own or rent your office, contents and equipment cover will provide protection in the event that your office equipment is damaged, lost or stolen – perhaps a laptop is accidentally damaged or the contents of your office is destroyed in a fire.
You may also want to add legal expenses insurance to cover additional legal costs, and personal accident insurance, which provides financial support if you are injured, or die, at work or elsewhere as a result of an accident. If, for example, you cut your hand on some broken glass during a viewing, this might include hospital costs and loss of income while you are unable to drive or conduct viewings.
Finally, the ability to get to and from viewings quickly is essential for estate agents, and can be the difference between a successful sale and a missed opportunity. That’s why your car is one of your most important assets. If you use your personal car for work, you’ll need to be covered under Business Class 1 insurance, which is specifically for journeys from the office to multiple sites or to visit clients. However, if you use company-owned cars, you’ll need commercial vehicle insurance. Cover related to your vehicle will likely need to be obtained separately through a car insurance provider and usually won’t be part of your business insurance package.