Finding the right insurance for your technical writing firm is an important step in protecting your business and achieving long-term success.
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Technical writers play an important role in a company’s communication and documentation efforts. With a wide variety of tasks, technical writers often assist with translating complex technical details into easily understandable how-to guides, instructions, or support documents. A technical writer’s customers, whether they be internal or external, depend on accurate work delivered on time.
Because a technical writer’s services can seriously impact an end customer, it’s important that writers protect themselves from any liability or risk. If a client believes there are errors or omissions in your work, they may sue you for negligence. Even if you did nothing wrong, defending a lawsuit is expensive. In addition to these professional risks, you could also be held liable for the same risks that are common to most businesses, such as unexpected disasters damaging your offices or equipment, or a non-employee suffering an injury on your property.
Dealing with incidents such as a lawsuit or accident can be financially ruinous for many companies or even bankrupt them. This is why it’s important to consider purchasing business insurance policies that will provide financial protection, whether it’s from a physical disaster like a fire, a lawsuit filed by a dissatisfied client, or a cyberattack that puts your computer network out of commission.
What insurance coverage do I need for my technical writing business?
While there are many types of coverage for companies to consider, these insurance policies are particularly important for technical writers to consider:
When you provide technical writing services, clients expect you to manage and execute projects effectively. If projects are delayed or errors are discovered late in the process, dealing with the situation can be costly for clients. Clients may sue your firm if they believe your negligence or errors caused them financial losses. Professional liability insurance can protect your company from lawsuits brought on by dissatisfied clients alleging failures in services, advice, or professional work.
- A client hires your technical writing firm to create a manual for a new product. Unfortunately, there are delays at your company and the manual isn’t complete by the deadline. The client has to hire another company to finish the manual on a rush basis in order to have it done by the launch date. The client sues your firm for damages. Your insurer would cover the lawsuit and any damages or settlements.
Cyber liability insurance is a key coverage for most companies in the IT industry as they typically rely on electronic systems and networks to conduct business. As a technical writing firm, you likely retain valuable or personally identifiable information belonging to your clients or employees. This means that you could be held liable if hackers are able to access confidential data through one of your systems. Additionally, if your systems are damaged or corrupted due to a virus or hack, your business could be jeopardized.
The costs of recovering from a cyberattack are high, and news of hacks can damage your reputation among consumers as well. Cyber liability insurance can provide financial assistance to help your company stay in business in the event of cyberattacks, and insurers often provide resources to help you prevent incidents as well.
- Hackers break into your servers and steal your client database, including credit card information and email addresses. Your clients sue your business for failing to adequately protect their confidential data. Your insurer will pay for your legal fees and any settlements or judgments in the case.
If your technical writing company operates from owned or rented office space, it’s a good idea to purchase commercial property insurance to protect the value of your business’s property. If an unexpected disaster damages or destroys your property, it can be difficult and expensive to recoup your losses. Commercial property insurance can help your company recover if your property is damaged. Commonly covered perils include fire, theft, vandalism, windstorm, and water damage.
Commercial property insurance covers the following:
- Buildings belonging to or leased by your company
- Contents of the building, including computer equipment, office furniture, and artwork
- Property of others while it is under your care, custody, or control
- During a storm, high winds cause a tree to fall onto your roof, damaging the roof and causing it to leak. Your office equipment and computers suffer significant water damage. Your commercial property insurance will pay for the cost of repairing the roof and replacing computers and other items that may have been damaged in the storm.
General liability coverage is an important consideration for nearly every company since the majority of businesses are exposed to some level of risk from accidents, injuries, or property damage. If you consult with clients at their locations, host client meetings at your own offices, or receive deliveries, there is always the chance that someone may be injured or property may be damaged. General liability insurance covers these third-party bodily injury and property damage risks. It also includes a personal and advertising injury component, which covers risks including libel, slander, and copyright infringement.
- Property damage: While at a client’s office to consult on a project, one of your technical writers trips and knocks over an expensive decor item, damaging it. Your general liability insurance would pay for the damages.
- Bodily injury: A technician comes to your offices to repair the air conditioning system. She trips on an uneven carpet and falls, badly spraining her ankle. Your general liability insurance would pay for medical costs and legal costs if the technician sues.
- Personal and advertising injury: Your firm creates a new logo for its promotional materials that unintentionally looks very similar to another company’s logo. The other company sues for copyright infringement. Your general liability insurance would pay for the lawsuit and any settlements or judgments against you.
- A business owner’s policy combines general liability, property, business income, and extra expense coverage into a single package. For small or midsize companies, this type of insurance could help you obtain a wide range of coverage. Premiums for a business owner’s policy are typically cheaper than the cost of buying each coverage separately.
- Business income insurance will reimburse you for lost income and operating expenses if your business is unable to operate due to a covered reason, such as fire, storm damage, or other property damage.
- Workers’ compensation insurance is legally required for companies with employees in most states. It covers employees’ medical expenses and lost income if they are injured while working.
- Employment practices liability insurance protects your company if current, past, or prospective employees sue you for alleged wrongful treatment such as discrimination or sexual harassment. It covers legal fees and any settlements or judgments against your company.
- Valuable papers and records coverage will protect your firm if printed documents or records are damaged or destroyed. This insurance coverage will reimburse you for the monetary value of important documents or the cost of repairing and replacing them.
Purchasing the right insurance coverage can protect your technical writing firm from a variety of major risks. It’s important to consider your business’s individual needs as you choose insurance policies. In addition to common risks like property damage and injuries, you could be sued for errors or omissions in your professional work or have your business brought to a halt by cyberattacks. Ensuring that your company has a wide range of insurance coverage can give you, your employees, and your clients peace of mind, knowing that if an unexpected disaster occurs, your company will be financially protected.