What is Accounting Insurance?
Accounting insurance helps protect against the unique risks as well as uncertainties that come with running a bookkeeping or accounting business. If you’re an accounting firm, then your clients trust you to manage their sensitive financial information. It is ironic how professionals who help minimize financial risks can also be prone to them. Years of work experience and relationships with your clients can undoubtedly go down the drain due to one mistake.
For instance, a missed deadline or an undiscovered fraud can raise serious legal issues for your business. According to TechCrunch, China’s Luckin Coffee reached a settlement to pay the U.S Securities and Exchange Commission $180 million in liabilities because of an accounting error in 2020.
Necessity of Insurance for Accountants
Whether you are an independent accountant or own an accounting firm, it is smart to get accounting insurance. Accounting insurance provides coverage against risks such as:
- Claims of negligence, omission, or errors
- Data breaches and data leaks
- Property damage
- Employment-related claims
- Failure to detect financial irregularities
Who Needs Accounting Insurance?
Accounting insurance, also called bookkeeping insurance, or CPA insurance, is tailored to protect the unique risks faced by the following professionals:
- Independent Accountants
- Accounting Firms
- Certified Public Accountants (CPAs)
- Tax Preparers
- Enrolled Agents
What Insurance Do Accountants Need?
Accountants need the following insurance policies to protect themselves and their firms.
Accountants Professional Liability Insurance
- Actual or alleged errors/mistakes
- Professional negligence or claims of negligence
- Breach of duty
According to an AZ Central report, The cost of a liability suit ranges from $54,000 to $91,000 or more for a contract dispute. . Explicitly, this cost does not include the time and emotional distress spent dealing with a lawsuit. Professional liability insurance covers legal fees, defense costs, and settlements for lawsuits arising from professional mistakes.
Commercial General Liability Insurance
Without reservation, commercial general liability insurance protects your business from third-party claims damage. General liability insurance covers:
- Bodily injury—Any third-party bodily injury costs like medical expenses and legal fees (in the event of a lawsuit) are covered.
- Property damage—It covers the costs of any damage to third-party property made by you or your business.
- Personal injury—This policy also covers personal injury suits involving claims of slander or libel.
Commercial Property Insurance
If your business owns assets, you should include commercial property insurance. It covers the building or office space and personal property, including computers, furniture, and equipment either in the event of a fire, vandalism, or other named perils.
Commercial Auto Insurance
If your business uses automobiles for professional purposes, it’s mandatory that have you have this coverage unless your business resides in Virginia or New Hampshire. Commercial auto insurance provides coverage for damages in case of an accident. The coverage includes property as well as medical expenses.
Workers Compensation Insurance
Workers compensation insurance provides benefits to employees in case of a work-related injury. It is compulsory for private employment in case of all states, except for Texas. Its benefits include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Funeral costs
- Legal fees in case the employee’s family sues
Employment Practices Liability Insurance
Employment practices liability insurance protects accounting firms from employee-related claims such as harassment, discrimination, and wrongful termination. According to an article by the United States based Nasake Law Firm, the average cost to settle and defend an employment law case is $200,000. Hence, accounting insurance in the form of EPLI is of great importance once your business starts growing and adding more employees.
Fiduciary Liability Insurance
According to an AICPA report, if you provide services to your clients like general business consulting, then asset management, and tax services, you may have a fiduciary duty to your clients. If so, you must act in your clients’ best interests, otherwise, you may be sued for breach of fiduciary duty.
For instance, former NBA star Kevin Garnett sued accountant Michael Wertheim and his firm Welenken CPAs for breach of fiduciary duty, aiding and abetting, and malpractice. According to Louisville Business First, the player alleges he suffered a $77 million financial loss because of the firm.
Professional liability insurance in the form of accounting insurance might either limit or exclude coverage related to fiduciary duty. If you have a fiduciary responsibility to your clients, then fiduciary insurance may protect you against lawsuits.
Commercial Umbrella Insurance
Commercial umbrella insurance adds an extension to the coverage of your other existing liability policies. In some cases, third-party lawsuits can cost upwards of millions, which is over the limit of general liability insurance. A commercial umbrella, as well as an excess policy, can extend your coverage in such events.
Keep in mind that this policy does not extend professional liability coverage.
Valuable Papers Coverage
Accounting firms need to store a multitude of records and important papers for their clients like bank statements, tax records, as well as financial documents. If these materials are damaged while in your possession, then purchasing valuable papers coverage as an endorsement could cover your costs.
How Much Does Accounting Insurance Cost?
Your accounting insurance can be tailored to your preferences and needs, but some factors will dictate its premium. Some of them include:
- Workforce size
- Accounting and finance services provided
- Claims history
- Equipment and property
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Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of insurance do accountants need?
Accountants need professional liability insurance generally known as errors and omissions insurance to stay covered against lawsuits from customers.
How much does accounting insurance cost on average?
While the cost of accounting insurance varies depending on the nature of your business, your requirements, and the coverage limit, on average it costs $500 monthly to stay covered.
What types of insurance do accountants require besides professional liability insurance?
Accountants can add other coverage like general liability insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, fidelity bonds, and cyber liability insurance to their accounting insurance policy.
January 25th, 2023 · 7 mins read
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