Professional indemnity insurance for estate agents

While not directly required by law, you will find that professional indemnity insurance for estate agents is a must have cover if you wish to operate in the UK property market.

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Our guide to insurance for estate agents

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WHY GET COVER

Why do estate and letting agents need professional indemnity insurance?

Estate and letting agents in the UK must be members of an authorised redress scheme and make this clear to their customers. Those schemes have a requirement for estate and letting agencies to hold professional indemnity insurance.

As much as it is a requirement, PI insurance is in fact a very useful cover for any business that provides professional services to their customers. As an estate or letting agent you advise clients on what they should do with their properties, provide certain services to help them secure a sale or a tenant. Those activities can lead to potential disputes with either party if they feel you have failed your professional duty of care.

Often disputes are resolved without going to court for a decision, however, the legal fees to deal with a conflict situation can be still significant. Everybody has heard of injury lawyers but solicitor firms specialising in legal claims against estate or letting agents also exist and they actively encourage unhappy clients to initiate a case against their estate or letting agency.

HOW DOES IT WORK

How does professional indemnity insurance protect estate and letting agents?

The increasingly litigious nature of this industry alone should be a motivation for you to consider this cover and focus on more than just the price. The cost of professional indemnity insurance for estate agents has gone up recently and naturally many business owners are looking to grab the best deal they can.

However, since professional indemnity insurance is a service, it is important you understand who underwrites your cover, what their reputation is with regards to paying claims and how your claim will be handled.

This is what professional indemnity insurance is for - to protect your business against claims of professional mistakes, negligence or breaching duty of care. A legal claim doesn’t just have a financial impact on your bank account. It can also have a profound impact on your personal and business reputation if the local paper gets hold of the story or the unhappy client vents their grievances on social media.

If you choose your professional indemnity insurance provider wisely, you will have an experienced legal team behind you and an insurer who will cover the associated costs including any compensation due. This kind of support goes a long way during a dispute as it can take a considerable amount of time and effort to navigate.

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Limits

How much PI insurance do estate agents need?

The property ombudsman as well as the scheme your business is a member of will have specific requirements. Many businesses will adhere to those but there are other considerations when selecting an appropriate limit.

The larger your business and number of clients, the higher the risk of a claim. Remember that sometimes more than one claim can occur within one year and you need to ask yourself whether the limit of your PI policy would be sufficient.

The size of your contracts is also a factor. While you might be limiting your liability in client contracts, you are not immune to claims exceeding this amount. Ensure that the PI limit you select is sufficient for the size of your business.

FAQs

Common Questions

Do estate agents need public liability insurance?

Unless your business operates completely virtually without physical access to clients or their property, you are likely to need public liability insurance.

Is professional indemnity insurance required by law for estate agents?

Strictly speaking it isn’t but because the property ombudsman and property redress scheme make it a condition of membership, you will need it to do business in the UK property market.

How much does PI insurance for estate agents cost?

Price is usually determined on your turnover, limit and past claims. Suited PI insurance for estate agents starts at just over £7.

What insurance do estate agents need?

Estate and letting agents typically need professional indemnity insurance. Public liability insurance is worth considering if there’s physical contact with the public, clients and their property. Businesses with employees will need employers’ liability insurance. And those who own and rent premises might like to arrange buildings and content insurance.

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