If you’re thinking of joining over 25,000 current Estate & Letting Agents across the UK by setting up your business, then you’ll no doubt have spent months meticulously planning and preparing for launch.
From location to web portals, to marketing and back-office systems, there is a huge amount to consider – however, one key area which is often overlooked until the last minute is Business Insurance. This might not be the most exciting subject, but without the correct protection, you could leave your new business exposed to financial ruin.
Insurance can be complicated, but exactly what type of business insurance does a Letting Agent need?
#1 Office & Property Insurance
Whether you are operating from a home office, serviced office location, or High Street premises, chances are that you will have business contents, computers and equipment. An office package will provide cover against perils such as fire, flood and theft to protect your investment.
Policies can also be extended to cover business interruption, which protects your loss of income and fixed cost expenses following an insured loss. Many Letting Agents also consider “increased cost of working cover” which will provide funds to keep your business running following a loss (for example – renting temporary alternative office space).
#2 All Risks On Business Equipment
Your tablet, laptop and mobile are probably just as important to you, if not more so, than your office-based computer equipment, as such you should consider cover for your business equipment while you are away from the office. If you take your own property photographs, don’t forget your camera equipment!
#3 Public Liability
Not only will landlords and prospective tenants visit your office, you and your staff will also carry out much of your work away from your premises performing property appraisals and viewings.
In these circumstances you should arrange Public Liability Insurance, this will cover your legal liability in the event of injury to a client or member of the public as a result of the actions of you, or one of your team. For example, a prospective tenant trips over a loose carpet tile in your office and breaks their arm.
#4 Employers Liability
If you decide to take on any employees (even a weekend assistant), then by law you need to arrange Employers Liability Insurance or you could face prosecution and fines of up to £2,500 under the Employers Liability (Compulsory Insurance) Act 1969.
Employers Liability provides legal liability cover should an employee suffer injury or illness in the course of their employment for which you could be held liable. Typical claims in this area for Estate and Letting Agents include stress-related injuries or illnesses and slips, trips or falls.
#5 Professional Liability
As a property expert, an agent owes an enhanced duty of care to clients and purchasers. A breach of that duty of care or any other accusation of professional negligence is likely to result in a Professional Liability claim or Professional Indemnity Insurance as it more widely referred.
If someone suffers a financial loss and holds you responsible, they are likely to pursue you and your business for recompense. Without adequate insurance protection, you may find yourself left with a costly legal bill.
The risks for property professionals are quite broad from incomplete tenant referencing to incorrectly completed paperwork, or even doors left open following viewings.
#6 Crime Cover
Dealing with large scale financial transactions enhances the risk of crime losses either from Employee Dishonesty or customers’ property.
As letting agents have access to financial information, this could be used for criminal purposes by an unscrupulous employee for illegal gain. Other potential losses from employees could include syphoning rent payments or payroll monies.
The key to reducing the possibility of crime is adequate employee screening and robust and vigilant processes so that no single employee has complete control over one financial area without sign-off.
#7 Cyber & Data Loss Cover
Letting Agents have access to a large amount of personal information, often in the form of both physical files and electronic data. Should this information fall into the wrong hands, you could suffer compensation claims, regulatory fines and/or significant reputational damage.
Cyber Liability Insurance and Data Loss protection will provide cover to indemnify such instances. It can include full cover to assist in managing any data loss, controlling public relations and immediately contacting impacted individuals to mitigate the impact on your business.
Cybersecurity protection against hacking and physical data protection such as fireproof safes and cabinets will help to reduce your risk. Still, Cyber Insurance cover is the most robust way of providing complete peace of mind.
#8 Motor Cover
If you own vehicles used for business purposes you should ensure that you have the correct level of cover in terms of vehicle use. Similarly, if you are allowing employers to utilise their own car, you need to apply an adequate vetting process of their insurance cover. Should an employee injure a third party in a motor accident and their insurance not respond, you could find that you are held vicariously liable for their actions.
FREE Business Insurance Review
Insync specialises in all areas of professional risk, we can Compare Professional Indemnity Insurance for Letting Agents in minutes, with the ability to tailor additional areas of cover to meet your exacting requirements.
You can request a quotation online, alternatively, why not book a free review with one of our expert Gurus who can help you find the right level of cover at the right price.