Police Officer Liability Insurance

Can Police Officer Liability Insurance Eliminate Financial Dangers for Your Department?

Ann Herro | July 20, 2018
Police officer reaching for radio. Police car in background.

Police officers and members of other law enforcement agencies face risks to their personal safety day in and day out. They are also increasingly under fire for alleged wrongdoing and face claims of negligence, failure to protect, false arrest, and civil rights violations. These claims are often in the form of costly litigation against departments and municipalities, and can result in settlements in the millions of dollars. 

Claims against police departments have become more commonplace in recent years, while awards have skyrocketed and the courts have routinely extended liability beyond the offending officers to superior officers, mayors, and other city leaders. Even if a case does not result in a settlement or judgment, the department or municipality still incurs budget-busting defense costs. 

Law enforcement agencies and municipalities can purchase police officer liability insurance to help cover the costs of these lawsuits, rather than borrowing to pay settlements or further burdening local taxpayers. 

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Why Do I Need Police Officer Liability Insurance? 

Look no further than Milwaukee to see why police officer liability insurance is becoming increasingly important for law enforcement agencies around the US. 

Since 2015, the city of Milwaukee has paid out approximately $22 million in police misconduct settlements. The mayor recently signed a $2.3 million settlement agreement with the family of Dontre Hamilton. He was killed by a police officer in 2014, and his family subsequently filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Milwaukee Police Department. The settlement was reached only after a long and bitter court battle that also cost the city millions.

Unfortunately, the Milwaukee PD is now embroiled in another high-profile case. Milwaukee Bucks rookie Sterling Brown recently filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Milwaukee Police Department and the city, claiming wrongful arrest, excessive force, and civil rights violations related to a tasing incident that occurred on January 26, 2018. 

With claims like these on the rise, costly litigation is a real threat to law enforcement professionals and municipalities. Money spent on legal wrangling and defense costs, in addition to settlements or judgments, could be put to better use improving communities and keeping them safe. 

What Does Police Officer Liability Insurance Cover? 

Some of the most common claims against police officers and law enforcement agencies include: 

  • Negligence 
  • Failure to protect
  • False arrest
  • Civil rights violations
  • Excessive force
  • Cruel and unusual punishment

Police officer liability insurance is emerging as part of the solution. It helps mitigate the financial losses that result from litigation, so officers and departments can focus on community safety and avoid further burdening taxpayers.  

Police officer liability insurance can be appropriate for a variety of different law enforcement agencies, including: 

  • Police departments
  • Sheriff's departments
  • College or university police
  • Port or airport authorities
  • Security companies
  • Prisons

Police officer liability insurance is a form of professional liability insurance that covers officers, departments, and municipalities against lawsuits that arise as a result of acts, errors, and omissions while police officers are performing their professional duties. 

Most police officer liability insurance policies cover claims of bodily injury, property damage, and personal injury (slander, libel) committed on behalf of a public entity during the course of official law enforcement operations or activities. Your policy probably covers defense costs, attorney fees, court costs, and settlements or judgments that must be paid to an injured party. 

Your coverage needs are dependent on many factors and the unique characteristics of your agency and municipality. An experienced independent insurance agent can help you learn about your options. 

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Find and Compare Quotes

Our agents work with you one-on-one to evaluate your risks and help you decide if police officer liability insurance is right for you. Based on your unique needs, they’ll shop around and compare policies from multiple insurance carriers. And they’ll help you find great coverage at the best possible price.

Benefits of an Independent Agent

Our agents simplify the search process for finding police officer liability insurance. They’ll walk you through some handpicked policy options and explain the details in language you can understand. 

Most importantly, they’ll be there for you for over the long term. They have experience handling claims and will help you when you need them most. 

The Lowdown on Online Quotes

Online quotes can be fast and easy. But something as important as police officer liability insurance should involve consultation with an experienced agent. 

Our independent agents can work with multiple insurance companies to find the coverage that best fits your situation and your budget. And they won’t leave out important policy options or saving opportunities that you won’t find online. 

TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Paul Martin

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