Why do architects need Professional Liability Insurance?

Architects are experts when it comes to creating and designing safe structures, a massive responsibility that involves detailed projects. It’s a role that requires countless calculations, decisions, and recommendations. While architects aim to create amazing results, there is always room for accidental errors to occur.

If you were to receive a phone call from an unhappy client or a court summons for a negligence claim, could you afford the legal costs to defend the allegation? Not only is there the financial aspects of a claim, but also the time away from your work, ultimately impacting current deadlines.

In the worst-case scenario, you could be found liable for damages and ordered by the court to pay for the damages incurred, potentially have your professional license removed, and be sent out of business.

As an architect having Professional Liability insurance in place is a wise investment to safeguarding your business in the long run. Your policy will provide cover for the costs from a liability allegation, protecting your professional and personal assets.

How much does architect Professional Liability Insurance cost?

When calculating the cost of a Professional Liability premium, your business details need to assessed by the insurer, where many of the additional non-quantifiable factors will be taken into consideration, either reducing or increasing your premium.

No two architectural businesses are the same, and neither are two Professional Liability policies. This is because each business has its own unique risk factors that affect how the policy is priced. On average, a Professional Liability policy for architects starts at around $1500 in annual premium, however this not an accurate indication of what your premium may be and should only be considered as a guide.

As a rule of thumb, any factor that increases the potential for a claim to occur will result in an increased premium or in extreme cases, even declination to provide coverage.

Specialty – Just as some professions are fundamentally riskier than others from an insurance perspective, so are the different architectural specialties. With many different specializations and sub-specializations, the degrees of risk differ accordingly.

Company Size – Sales – The total sales your architectural company turns over in a year (or projected sales if you are just starting out) is the main factor in determining your annual premium. The more sales your business makes, or projects you undertake are two factors that could potentially contribute to a larger lawsuit or a higher risk of being sued.

Company Size – Staff – Another factor is the size of your company in reference to how many employees you have, specifically other architects. Typically architectural firm with six consultants undertaking projects will be a much riskier insured than a one-person shop.

Claim History – This can have a significant impact on your premium. In extreme cases if you have had claims that have been too frequent or severe your insurance provider may decline to your business, deeming it too high a risk. When submitting a quote to an insurer, your claims history will be one of the first things the underwriter will look at.


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