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Insurance for architects in California

Learn about business insurance requirements and the most common policies for architects in California.

Which insurance policies are required for architects in California?

If you have a commercial lease, your property manager may require you to purchase general liability insurance. It is one of the most common policies purchased by architects in California and can protect your business from expenses associated with common mishaps, such as client property damage and injuries.

Your clients may require professional liability insurance in a contract. This policy helps cover the cost of lawsuits claiming your work caused financial harm because it was late, erroneous, or incomplete.

State law in California requires every small business with employees to provide workers’ compensation insurance, which covers medical bills for work injuries. Business-owned vehicles must be covered by commercial auto insurance. Personal vehicles used for business purposes should have commercial coverage as well.

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What are the most common policies for architects in California?

Architects in California most often need the following insurance policies. The specifics depend on client contracts, lease agreements, business vehicles, and number of employees.

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General liability insurance

General liability insurance is the foundation of an architect’s business protection, with coverage that extends to client injuries, client property damage, and advertising injuries. Most commercial leases require you to have this coverage.

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Business owner's policy (BOP)

Architects often qualify for a business owner’s policy. This package helps your business save money by bundling commercial property insurance with general liability insurance at an affordable rate.

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Professional liability insurance

Many clients require proof of professional liability insurance before entering into contracts for professional services. This policy, also called errors and omissions insurance (E&O) or architect liability insurance, can help cover legal expenses if you’re sued for unsatisfactory performance or a work mistake.

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Workers' compensation insurance

California law requires all employers to carry workers’ compensation coverage. This policy can help pay for medical expenses and lost wages resulting from a work injury.

Architects who work independently can choose whether or not to purchase workers' compensation. Workers' comp is recommended even for sole proprietors and independent contractors, as health insurance companies can deny claims for injuries related to your job.

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Cyber liability insurance

Architects who store sensitive customer information, such as email addresses or credit card numbers, should invest in cyber liability insurance. This policy helps businesses recover from cyberattacks and data breaches. For example, it would cover the cost of notifying affected customers and providing them with fraud monitoring services after a breach.

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Commercial auto insurance

Commercial auto insurance covers vehicles owned by your architecture firm. If your vehicle is involved in an accident, this policy helps pay for medical bills and property damage. It can also cover theft, weather damage, and vandalism.

State requirements for auto liability insurance vary. In California, business and personal vehicles must carry a minimum of:

  • $5,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $15,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $30,000 bodily injury liability per accident
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License and permit bonds

Architects sometimes need a license or permit bond to obtain a license or work on a project. These bonds are types of surety bonds that guarantee you will fulfill the terms of a contract and adhere to local regulations. The contract will usually specify the size of the bond that you need.

In California, architects need to pass an exam and have a certain amount of education or experience to get a license. City or county regulations may require bonds for certain types of work, such as grading. Any architect who does construction work in California needs to carry a $15,000 contractor's bond.

What do architects in California pay for insurance?

According to an analysis of Insureon applications, the cost of architect insurance in California varies slightly from the national median. Architects in California may pay a little more for general liability insurance and workers' compensation than architects in other parts of the country.

Professional liability insurance costs California architects about $140 per month, versus the national median of about $145 a month. Architects in California can expect to pay $42 per month for general liability insurance, higher than the national median of $35 per month.

Median insurance costs for California architects.

Save time and money with Insureon

Insureon’s industry-leading technology helps architects in California save time and money shopping for insurance by comparing policies from top U.S. carriers. Start a free online application to review quotes for the policies that best fit your business. Our insurance agents are licensed in California and can answer your questions as you consider coverage.

To make the application go quicker, have this information ready:

  • Workforce details, such as the number and types of employees
  • Current and projected revenue
  • Business partnerships
  • Insurance history and prior claims
  • Commercial lease insurance requirements

Apply for free architect insurance quotes today.

Updated: May 6, 2022
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