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3 Insurance Pitfalls That Can Put Your Law Practice At Risk

fire-474931-mIn 2011, I had to deal with a house fire that destroyed my entire home.

Traumatic as that was, I learned some valuable lessons from that experience. So many, in fact, that they cannot easily be covered in just one article.

For  today, I’d like to expand upon some all too common insurance pitfalls that could be putting you and your practice at risk if you ignore them.

1. Separate Coverage Is Needed For Business Property At Your Home

One thing I’ve learned about insurance that surprised me is that most homeowner’s policies (including mine) have limits on how much business property in your home will be covered.

HomeOffice DeniseIf you’re like me, I do a lot of work from my home office. You can see this photo of just the conference room I have in my home office. That doesn’t even count the other separate office areas that I have in my home.

Here’s why it matters…

My main homeowner’s policy has a limit of $5,000 in business personal property in the home. I’ll bet yours has a similar limit.

So what is the solution to this problem? Well, you basically need to add your home office to your corporate insurance policy as an additional location (or as the only location if you work exclusively out of your home).

But with most carriers, you need two separate policies to cover your business personal property as well as your personal use property.

Check with your agent for options that are available in your area, and for your scenario. But don’t wait until you have a disaster to find out that most of your business property in the home isn’t even covered.

Luckily for me, I didn’t have much business property in my home at the time of my fire, and I had all of my business property covered in separate policies. It would be very easy to miss this, as most people do. But during the aftermath of my house fire, I learned that my policy had the $5,000 limit on business property in the home, so my eyes were opened on how important it is to stay on top of these details!

2. Business Interruption Insurance Can Help You During Disaster

computer-1435507-mOne type of insurance I added after my house fire is “business interruption insurance”.

I had tons of different insurance policies already, such as life insurance, health insurance, property and casualty insurance, auto insurance, commercial insurance, a personal umbrella policy, and more. I thought I was covered for pretty much everything.

The one type of insurance that I missed was business interruption insurance.

This type of insurance can help provide income to your business when it’s operations are interrupted from a disaster such as a fire. Many people think that this type of coverage is automatically included in their main property and casualty policy. Unfortunately, the loss in revenue that your business suffers due to a disaster is NOT typically included as part of the building and personal property coverage.

In fact, the only thing that saved me financially during my house fire was the fact that I work with clients on a recurring monthly plan so I still had revenue coming in even when I was away from the office dealing with everything. (Otherwise, I would have suffered other serious monetary consequences.)

Due to the nature of our business relationships, my clients were great about being flexible on the project deadlines during that time, and my revenue still came in at the same recurring pace every single month.

However, given what I learned from the experience, I now have business interruption insurance as well. In the unusual chance that I ever go through another disaster, I’ll also have the added income of the interruption policy covering my overhead for the period that my operations are disrupted due to rebuilding or relocating.

3. Business Owners Urgently Need Disability Insurance

safe-1441646-mI’ve also realized in the past few years just how critical it is for business owners to have disability insurance for themselves. Most business owners don’t think about adding such coverage for themselves…

But what if you become sick with cancer, or some other disability that leaves you temporarily or permanently disabled. I also suggest that you talk to your agent about disability coverage if you don’t already have it.

There you have it. The 3 most important insurance policies you should consider for your law practice, in order to best protect it and yourself from unexpected events.

Want to learn more?


About the Contributor
Denise Gosnell
Denise is an entrepreneur who also happens to be an attorney. She owns multiple companies, including a consulting company called Denise Gosnell Consulting, Inc., where she writes various courses and books. One of her other companies is her law firm, Gosnell and Associates, P.C. where she serves Technology, Information Publishing, and Coaching companies as Intellectual Property and Internet legal counsel. She formed her own law firm about ten years ago after working for a large law firm prior to that. She also used to be a software engineer for over ten years before she became an attorney. Over the years, she has authored and co-authored 8 books on technology and business topics, and is currently a blogger for the Huffington Post on various legal and business topics.

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