We’re really pleased to have teamed up with professional insurance broker PolicyBee, and they offering readers of this blog a 10% saving on your Virtual Assistant insurance. PolicyBee want you to be confident knowing what insurance you need and why, so they’re showing us the ropes in a series of bi-monthly articles. First up, here’s an overview of the key insurance policies available to Virtual Assistants.
What insurance do virtual assistants need?
VAs often ask us what insurance they need. Truth is, there’s no easy answer – there’s no one-size-fits-all policy.
That said, most VAs share common risks. Whether balancing the books, delivering marketing strategies, or going out to meet clients, there’s significant potential for damage.
Insurance is a must and some VAs are likely to need more than others. Let’s take a look.
Professional indemnity: for slip-ups, mishaps and mistakes
Being your own boss is great – but it comes at a cost. If you make a mistake and your client loses out, they can legally sue you. If that happens, the person who’s footing the bill is (you guessed it) you.
PI insurance is your safety net. It rights the wrongs caused by your mistakes and pays for any court costs, legal fees or compensation you owe. Cover also usually extends to such things as defamation, document and data loss, intellectual property infringement, virus transmission and confidentiality breach. Policies do differ and it pays to check the policy wording. That way you know you’re protected.
Claims example: A mix-up between two (very similar) e-mail addresses means you send your client’s sales report to their competitor by mistake. Lots of confidential sales data get seen by the wrong people and the client sues you for breach of confidentiality.
Public liability: for slips, trips and spills
Public liability insurance covers claims of physical damage and injuries caused by you or your business. It’s useful if you go out to run errands and meet clients, or if people come to see you.
It really doesn’t take much to be held liable for a claim: a client tripping over an ill-placed briefcase, a coffee-soaked laptop, or someone slipping on a loose bit of carpet. For many VAs, public liability is a ‘peace of mind’ insurance.
Claims example: You’re visiting a client’s home and accidentally brush up against an expensive piece of original artwork. It falls to the floor and breaks. Your client promptly hands you the bill to replace it.
Office and business insurance: for your office and portable equipment
Arguably as important as what you do is what you do it with. Tot up the cost of all the equipment in your office, from PC to printer. Don’t forget less obvious stuff like pencils and potted plants. At a guess, we’d say it’s a lot.
Office insurance covers property owned by your business for accidental damage, major theft and total loss (eg fire or flood). Portable insurance is for your mobile phone, laptop and any other equipment you take out and about with you, for loss, damage and theft.
Claims example: You’re taking the train back from a meeting and your laptop gets stolen. Unable to work, you miss your client’s deadlines and they decide to take their business elsewhere.
Cyber insurance: for hacks, breaches and data loss
The internet is great for connecting you to your clients but it’s also a double-edged sword. Juggling lots of tasks for lots of different people often means your cybersecurity falls by the wayside. Unfortunately, cybercriminals are great at exploiting weakness, leaving you as vulnerable to cyber-attacks as any other business.
As always, it pays to be protected. Cyber insurance covers the cost of repairing, replacing and restoring your systems, data and websites following a hack or a breach. If your business is disrupted, it pays for temporary equipment and income. And if you’re sued, it covers any compensation you’re liable for.
Claims example: Cybercriminals infect your PC with ransomware, leaving you unable to access your client’s files and data. What’s worse, they demand payment for its release. You let your client know of the situation and they threaten to sue you for unauthorised data collection.
Legal expenses insurance:
This insurance covers your legal expenses if you’re involved in a commercial dispute that’s not your fault. Often, these are to do with employment issues and tax investigations. It also covers bodily injury, property damage, and cover for lost earnings due to jury service. Legal expenses insurance is usually sold as a bolt-on cover alongside another insurance policy, for example, as part of a virtual assistants’ professional insurance package.
PolicyBee is an independent, digital broker with a knack for covering freelancers, sole traders, small businesses and charities. They specialise in helping people get the insurance they need quickly and easily, and without breaking the bank.