Liability Insurance: Even Notary Publics Need It

Oct 9, 2018 · 8 minutes to read

A professional work on desktop with a computer and a pair of glasses.

Consider any profession in any industry or a moment.

What do they all have in common? They’re all run by people.

What do people have in common? People make mistakes, it’s simply part of human nature; however, mistakes don’t have to be the end of the world, or more importantly, the end of your business. That’s why insurance exists.

There are several reasons why professionals should invest in liability insurance. For starters, money is always a contributing factor. When mistakes are made, lawyers and lawsuits are called on, and lawyers and lawsuits cost money. There are other expenses that come hand-in-hand with this, too. Placating the client, or clients costs money and replacing assets cost money. Consider all of these financial burdens and ask yourself, are you prepared to shoulder this responsibility?

For these reasons alone, in addition to several other reasons specific to the industry, notary public professionals should consider investing in liability insurance. As a notary public, you’re subject to the same mistakes as anyone else, however, they tend to come at a much higher risk.

You’re likely familiar with the wear-and-tear that comes with a demanding job like being a notary public. There’s the distraction, fatigue, and excess work that can all come into play and create extra room for error.

It’s different than other industries in that you’re consistently dealing with important and sensitive documentation. An error – no matter how unintentional—can cost you money in the long run, money that you’re likely not entirely prepared to deal with and money that your employer is likely not prepared to cover for you, either.

Want to get a better look at how liability insurance can benefit you, as a notary public?

Please see our guide below-detailing everything you need to know about notary public liability insurance, the misconceptions that go hand-in-hand with your job, and what you need to understand to properly protect yourself as a notary public.

What is Liability Insurance?

It’s not uncommon for notary publics to be unfamiliar with liability insurance. As a professional in a business, especially if you’re working for a company and not running your own business, it can be easy for liability insurance to slip through the cracks.

So, let’s try to look at all of the elements of liability insurance and talk about liability insurance as a general concept before we dive into the nitty-gritty of liability insurance specific to notary publics.

Liability insurance is a part of the general insurance system of risk financing that’s created in order to protect the insured from the risk of liabilities imposed by lawsuits and similar claims. For example, if you happen to be an overworked and overtired notary public and happen to accidentally mess something up in your client’s very delicate paperwork that could potentially result in them suing you for liability, your liability insurance could protect you from the financial burden of making up for those damages.

It’s important to note that that doesn’t mean that you, as a notary public, can be irresponsible with your work, but it does help protect you from those accidental mistakes that you might make if you’re distracted, overworked, or simply just slip into human error.

Aren’t Notary Publics Covered?

It’s possible that you’re thinking that you’re likely covered by your employer, or simply by the nature of your job.

The truth is, even if your employer or the notary board covers some of the issues that could arise, they very rarely are able to cover all of them. The last thing you want as a professional notary public is to make a mistake that not only ruins your career but drains your financial reservoirs as well as your credibility reservoirs.

In a perfect world, the notary public would automatically be covered for any mistakes by their employers, but this is not always the case. You want to make sure you have all of your insurance needs taken care of.

This especially applies if you’re running your own notary public business. You don’t want to put your personal or business assets at risk, so notary insurance is certainly something to consider in this situation.

Some Common Misconceptions for Notary Publics

Now, we’ll get into some of the common misconceptions that go hand-in-hand with liability insurance and being a notary public in order to present a clearer view of why this is necessary.

Notary Bonds will Protect Me

This is not always true. State-required notary bonds are not going to protect you, it’s going to protect the public. Consider this – if a surety company makes a payment on your claim, you’re going to have to pay them back. This is not the greatest guarantee of coverage.  You’re required to have it, but how much does it really help if you’re forced to pay back the money they paid on the claim? Unfortunately, not very much at all.

Alleged Claims Don’t Matter

You might consider the fact that you rarely make an error as a valid argument. That’s possible, but unfortunately, alleged claims can still be damaging. Alleged claims versus actual claims aren’t much different. When someone makes a claim against you, whether it’s got ground to stand on or not, they’re making a claim against that you will likely go public or go to court – this means that not only will your credibility come into question, your finances are going to as well. No matter how alleged these claims are, and no matter whether they hold water or not, they’re going to cost you, and if you’re not covered, you’ll likely still be stuck footing the bill, even for an imaginary error that wasn’t your doing.

Notary Publics Can’t Be Held Personally or Financially Responsible

This misconception is an incredibly dangerous one because it makes notary publics believe that even if they do make a mistake, they’re not going to have to deal with it. We’ll make this short and sweet because we don’t want you to misinterpret anything here.  Notary publics can absolutely, without a doubt, 100 per cent be held personally and financially responsible for their notarial acts. They can be held accountable for the full amount of damages, even, based on their misconduct in performing their notarizations.

My Employer Has Me Covered

It’s important to realize that while you work for your employer, you’re still responsible for your seal and journal, meaning, you’re responsible for your notarial acts. What’s this mean? Well, mostly, it means that your employer can’t always have your back. Even if your employer does carry liability insurance for the business, the insurance may not protect you, specifically, from liability for your notarial acts. So, even if your employer has great intentions, those intentions aren’t always going to help you out in a compromising situation.

What Kind of Liability Insurance Should Notary Publics Look Into?

With all the buzzwords out there surrounding the insurance business, it can be hard to understand what sort of liability insurance that notary publics should be looking into.

Should you look at personal liability insurance? Professionally liability insurance?

Errors and Omissions Insurance

Professional liability, also called Errors and Omissions Insurance, protects your business against claims of negligence, misrepresentation, or mistakes. Typically, when a liability issue arises, someone is claiming that your services, products, or your employees caused damage – either financial or personal – to a third party. Whether it’s an alleged claim or not, it likely won’t matter.

Without liability insurance, your credibility and financials will likely drain. That’s where E&O comes in. With E&O insurance, you’re protected, as a professional service provider, from potentially devastating financial damages that could result from actual errors or alleged errors that happen in the process of your delivery of a service. This kind of coverage takes care of attorney fees, legal expenses, costs related to a settlement, costs related to a judgement, and all the expenses that come with those processes.

A professional liability insurance policy, that E&O we’ve been talking about, is beyond vital for professionals who are in the notary public business. In other words, if you provide advise and instruction to other, as notary publics do, then this kind of insurance is absolutely critical.

Any time you’re dealing with other people’s actions, advising them on what to do or handling their personal, private information, you want to ensure that you’re covered. The Errors and Omissions Insurance services that BizInsure offers can help protect you as a consultant, a coach, a training professional, against damages that are related to your services, actions or recommendations.

This policy can help to keep you protected against alleged or actual claims of negligence or error and can cover anyone from employees and independent contractors from allegations of failure to perform, inaccuracy, bad advice, and other common risks that are associated with the services you might provide.

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