The real estate business is an important one. Realtors help people become first-time homeowners and assist those who are looking to sell their homes, whether to downsize or upgrade. Most real estate agents are not independent contractors; they work for a real estate agency that provides them with resources and support. If you own your own real estate agency or an agency franchise, you will want to be sure to protect your investment with suitable insurance coverage. Let an independent insurance agent in the Trusted Choice® network help you build a portfolio that has been specifically prepared for your real estate business.
2015 Real Estate Agency Franchise Industry Facts From IBISWorld
- There are approximately 23,000 real estate agency franchises operating in the United States.
- These franchises employ nearly 330,000 people.
- The real estate franchise industry generates about $34 billion in revenue each year.
Your Real Estate Agency Insurance Portfolio Includes Property Coverage
While most of the work done by the agents you employ at your real estate agency will be done away from the office, you will need a home base where you can greet clients, handle paperwork and closings, take phone calls, and keep your files. The amount of property insurance you need depends on how much you have invested in your front office.
- Building insurance: Chances are good that you will rent your office space. However, if you own the building in which your real estate agency is housed, you will want to be sure to purchase coverage against damage to its structure, with a building insurance policy.
- Contents insurance: You have likely invested a lot into making your front office inviting and comfortable for your clients. Contents insurance provides coverage against loss or damage to the business property you keep in your office space, including conference tables and other furnishing, computer systems, filing cabinets, flooring, and décor. Your independent agent can help you determine how much coverage is sufficient.
- Flood insurance: Flooding can cause extensive property damage, but this damage is excluded from nearly all business insurance policies. If your agency is located in a flood zone or is otherwise at risk for flood damage, your independent insurance agent can help you supplement your coverage with a flood insurance policy through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
- Extra expenses insurance: If the building that houses your main office is damaged or destroyed by a covered event, your business can still continue operations, though you will likely need to rent temporary office space until repairs are made. Extra expenses insurance provides your real estate agency franchise with coverage for the cost to move into and rent this temporary space.
The Proper Liability Insurance Can Shied Your Agency from Loss
Bear in mind that anyone can sue anytime for anything. Even if the case holds no merit, your business can be out a lot of money in legal defense fees alone. It is therefore important that you protect your interests with the right liability coverage. Liability insurance covers court costs, legal fees and financial damages, leaving you to focus on running a profitable business. Some liability coverage options you may want to be sure to include in your real estate agency insurance portfolio include the following:
- General liability insurance: This protects your business if a customer or other third-party is injured or suffers property damage on your business premises. It also protects you against charges of libel, slander, copyright infringement, invasion of privacy and misappropriate of advertising designs.
- Auto liability insurance: Your real estate agency may not have any business-owned cars, but your agents are likely to use their own personally owned vehicles frequently to meet clients and to drive them around to show houses. If one of your agents is responsible for an accident while driving for work, your business can be named in a liability lawsuit, which can be costly if the damages are excessive. To protect your business, you can purchase nonowned or hired car auto insurance, which will add an extra layer of liability coverage.
- Employment practices liability Insurance: This protects your real estate agency’s finances if a current or past employee sues your business for an illegal business practice, such as sexual harassment; discrimination based on sex, race, religion or sexual orientation; breach of contract; or wrongful termination.
- Errors & omissions liability insurance: You likely require the agents who represent your agency to purchase their own errors and omissions insurance, but because your agency can be named in a lawsuit as well, you will want to cover it with a policy as well. This insurance provides coverage in the event of a lawsuit brought on by professional errors, such as failure to disclose, housing discrimination violations and property damage to homes during open houses that are the result of agent negligence.
- Directors & officers liability insurance: This protects the principal officers in your business, such as CEO, treasurer and members of the boards of directors. It provides coverage if any or all of them are named in a lawsuit alleging misconduct or poor decisions that resulted in damage to employees or third-parties.
What Other Coverage Should You Have in Your Real Estate Agency Insurance Portfolio?
In addition to the coverage types listed above, there are other policies that your insurance agent may recommend. They include the following:
- Workers' compensation insurance: This insurance is required of employers in most states, but may not pertain to your business if the agents who represent your brand are independent agents as opposed to employees. An independent insurance agent can help you determine whether this coverage is required and whether it is a good fit for your business.
- Employee dishonesty insurance: This is a type of crime insurance that protects your business from financial losses in the event that an employee steals from your business or engages in other illegal behavior while on the job.
- Health and life insurance: Real estate agencies benefit from keeping agents in their employ for a long time. Longtime agents build up a reputation and can therefore typically bring in more business than new agents. One way to keep your employees loyal to your brand is by offering great benefits packages that include life and health insurance coverage options. Your independent agent can help you review and select suitable policies.
There are other policy types that may be of interest to you as you are insuring your real estate agency. When you work with an independent insurance agent, you can learn more about your various exposures and the insurance options that are available to cover them.
Get Help Building a Comprehensive Real Estate Agency Insurance Portfolio
The easiest way to ensure that you have a comprehensive real estate agency insurance portfolio is to work with an independent agent in the Trusted Choice network. These knowledgeable agents can help you realize your various exposures and can recommend the right types of insurance to cover them. Find a Trusted Choice agent near you to learn more and to start comparing quotes on real estate agency insurance designed specifically for your business.