Errors and Omissions (E&O) Insurance: What It Covers


Bryan Huynh

- Updated February 23, 2024

Errors and Omissions (E&O) Insurance: What It Covers

Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance is a type of business insurance that offers business owners protection from mistakes made in their professional services. These mistakes, or omissions, can be costly for the business. E&O coverage protects against claims made by clients due to negligent acts, errors, or omissions in a professional service. In this article, we will explore what E&O insurance is, who needs it, what it covers, and how to shop for a policy that best meets your needs. We will also discuss the benefits of E&O insurance and why it is an essential investment for professionals and businesses in today's litigious environment.

E&O Coverage Requirements

In general, the purpose of E&O insurance is to protect individuals and businesses from financial losses due to errors or omissions that occur in the course of providing professional services. Depending on your line of work, you may need E&O coverage in order to comply with applicable regulations.

If you plan to enter into contracts with clients or customers, they may require that you carry the right type of liability insurance coverage as part of the agreement. While most states do not require E&O insurance for all professionals, it's important to research the laws in your area and determine whether you need this type of coverage in order to practice legally in your state.

Some industries have adopted higher standards that require E&O coverage; for example, almost all medical professionals are required to carry this type of insurance policy. Ultimately, whether E&O insurance is required depends on the nature of your specific business operations and where you are located. It's important to be aware of local laws and industry standards in order to stay compliant and protect yourself from potential risks associated with negligence claims.


What E&O Covers

By understanding what E&O insurance covers, you can be sure your business is properly protected. It’s an important safety net to ensure that any mistakes don’t turn into costly losses for your company down the line.

The scope of E&O insurance depends on the specific policy. This insurance coverage is designed to provide protection for businesses against the risk of financial loss due to errors or omissions in the delivery of professional services. It can protect businesses against a wide range of potential claims, such as negligence, breach of contract, misrepresentation, and failure to offer appropriate advice or services.

E&O insurance generally covers a range of different scenarios related to the provision of professional services. This includes:

  • claims made by customers alleging that the insured party failed to perform their services correctly or adequately;
  • negligence in the performance of services;
  • wrongful acts in connection with providing professional advice;
  • errors or omissions in providing professional services;
  • breach of contract; and
  • failure to provide appropriate advice or services.

In addition to protecting against financial losses from legal claims and lawsuits, E&O insurance may also cover additional expenses such as legal fees for defending a claim as well as any damages awarded by a court or arbitration panel.

E&O insurance helps protect businesses from financial losses resulting from mistakes they have made while providing professional services. This type of insurance can help ensure businesses are able to continue operations following an unexpected claim by helping them avoid costly litigation or settlements that could otherwise threaten their financial security. Ultimately, having E&O insurance helps create peace of mind knowing that you are covered if something were to go wrong while providing your service offerings.

What’s Not Covered

E&O (Errors and Omissions) policies typically do not cover criminal prosecution, nor certain liabilities that may arise in civil courts, such as those stemming from illegal acts, intentional wrongdoings, or any type of criminal activity. This means that these types of claims won't be compensated by your E&O policy, and you should review additional insurance options for proper coverage. It's important to note that E&O insurance often does not cover bodily injury inflicted by your business; this is typically covered by general liability insurance.

When reviewing an E&O policy, it may or may not provide coverage for certain situations. Examples include

  • temporary employees
  • claims related to work done before the policy was in force
  • claims across various jurisdictions
  • information leaks due to cybercrime and other data breaches
  • employee injuries
  • discrimination claims.

When facing any potential risks associated with these types of situations, it’s best to purchase additional types of insurance specific to the particular risk.


Who Needs E&O Insurance

Any business that provides professional services to clients needs Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance. This type of insurance is designed to protect professionals and their businesses from any claims that arise due to negligence or errors in the services provided. Some professionals that should carry E&O insurance include:

  • Lawyers
  • Architects
  • Engineers
  • Accountants
  • Consultants
  • Financial advisors

Beyond those providing professional consultation services, any business that gives advice or renders creative services to its clients should also seriously consider obtaining E&O Insurance. For example, web designers and developers, general contractors, and photographers are three professions where an E&O policy could be helpful.

Certain businesses such as real estate agents and brokers, insurance agents, travel agents, and medical practitioners may need an additional type of liability coverage called Professional Liability Insurance (PLI), which is essentially a variation of traditional E&O coverage.


The Cost

The cost of E&O insurance is based on factors such as the type of services provided by your business, the geographic area where you conduct those services, any claims history related to your business, and the amount of coverage you purchase. Depending on these factors, E&O policies can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars a year.

Businesses that operate in industries with higher risks for mistakes or errors such as law firms and medical practices will likely require more coverage than businesses like accounting firms and marketing agencies. As a result, it is important to consider how much coverage is necessary for your particular business before making any purchasing decisions. Additionally, claims history can increase or decrease the amount you pay for E&O insurance; if your business has had past claims made against it related to errors or omissions then you may be required to pay higher premiums to secure coverage.

There are various types of policies available with different levels of coverage which can alter the cost significantly - it is important to carefully review what each policy offers so that you can make an informed decision on which one will work best for your needs. Working with an experienced E&O agent who understands your business model and industry specifics can help ensure that you get the right level of protection at a price that fits within your budget.

E&O Versus Professional Liability Insurance

The main difference between E&O and professional liability insurance is the type of claims that they cover. E&O insurance protects against claims arising from errors or omissions in professional work, while liability insurance protects against claims arising from bodily injury, property damage, and personal injury.

Both types of insurance offer protection against legal claims, but they differ in the types of claims that they cover. If you provide professional services or advice, you may need E&O insurance, while liability insurance may be more appropriate if you are concerned about the risk of bodily injury or property damage claims.

Examples of Professional Liability Insurance

Professional liabilities can range from giving incorrect tax advice or making inaccurate calculations leading to financial losses for clients. Consulting firms and engineers who provide design plans that don’t adhere to regulations can also benefit from having professional liability coverage.

Media Liability

Media liability insurance guards businesses against claims made related to copyright infringement as well as the content published including articles written by staff members, blogs created by contractors, and other digital content stored online. Depending on the particular policy purchased, it may even cover claims related to careless editing mistakes that lead to libel issues with readers or viewers. Media companies often use this type of coverage when they broadcast television shows, launch websites, or publish books and magazines.

Cyber Liability

Cyber liability coverage helps companies protect themselves against any potential data breaches that could occur due to malicious hacking attempts, accidental information release caused by employee error, or negligence on behalf of third parties contracted with the organization.

This type of policy covers costs associated with responding appropriately when a data breach does occur including credit monitoring services for affected customers as well as legal fees incurred while trying to recover lost funds resulting from fraudulent activities conducted with stolen personal information.

Directors’ and Officers’ Liability

Directors’ and officers’ liability is specifically designed for those employed at entities such as corporations, limited partnerships, and non-profit organizations where people are held responsible for their actions while acting in an official capacity regarding decisions made within their roles like stockholders not receiving dividends due them or shareholders claiming mismanagement on behalf of leaders within the company.

This type of policy ensures corporate employees are protected financially if they are named in legal proceedings brought forth because of those actions taken while employed at that organization.

Purchasing E&O Insurance

Here are some steps you can follow to shop for E&O insurance:

  1. Identify your insurance needs: Consider the specific risks associated with your profession and the type of services you provide. This will help you determine the coverage limits and policy features you need.
  2. Research insurance providers: Look for insurance companies that specialize in E&O insurance for your industry or profession. Check their financial stability, customer reviews, and reputation in the industry.
  3. Get multiple quotes: Request quotes from several insurance providers to compare coverage options and premiums. Make sure to provide accurate and detailed information about your business to get accurate quotes.
  4. Compare coverage options: Review the policy coverage options, limits, exclusions, and deductibles to understand what is covered and what is not. Consider the type of coverage you need, the risks you face, and the cost of the policy.
  5. Understand the policy terms: Carefully read the policy terms and conditions, including any exclusions and limitations. Ask questions and clarify any doubts with your insurance provider before purchasing the policy.
  6. Purchase the policy: Once you have selected a policy, purchase it and make sure you have a copy of the policy and proof of insurance. Keep the policy documents in a safe place and review the coverage periodically to ensure it continues to meet your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Errors and Omissions Insurance?

Errors and Omissions Insurance (also known as Professional Liability Insurance) is a type of insurance policy that provides financial protection for professionals like lawyers, consultants, and others who provide a service to their clients. It serves to cover any mistakes or omissions in the course of providing that service and offers protection from potential legal claims related to negligence by the insured professional.

Who needs Errors and Omissions Insurance?

Any professional who provides advice, consultation, services, or designs to their clients should consider carrying an E&O policy. This includes but is not limited to real estate agents, counselors, architects, public accountants, advisors, designers, IT consultants, marketing consultants, engineers and more. Many companies require independent contractors working with them on projects to carry E&O policies as part of their contractual agreement.

What does Errors and Omissions Insurance cover?

An E&O policy typically covers any claims resulting from actual or alleged negligence in the performance of professional services provided by the insured person or organization. The coverage may also include defense costs against such claims even if they are groundless or fraudulent. The specific types of claims covered will vary based on the policy so it's important to read through your agreement carefully before signing up for an E&O insurance policy.

How much does Errors and Omissions Insurance cost?

The cost of an E&O insurance policy will vary depending on several factors including your profession/industry type and how much coverage you need. Other things that can impact cost include experience level within your profession/industry; where you are located; past claims history; the size of your practice; any special risks associated with your work; risk management practices you have in place; among other factors.

Most policies start at around $500-$1000 per year though this can vary substantially depending on those factors mentioned above.

Protect yourself, your clients and your business by understanding Errors and Omissions (E&O) Insurance. Get the right coverage so you don't have to worry about costly mistakes or omissions down the line.

About The Author

Bryan Huynh

Bryan Huynh

Product Tester & Writer

Bryan Huynh is a dedicated Product Tester & Writer. Just as insurance has your back, Bryan works to review and inform you about the wide range of insurance products available, ranging from business, auto, health, home, pet, to life insurance.

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