Like professionals in any field that involves giving clients advice and services, Notary Publics are often held liable in lawsuits. Notary Publics can purchase a Liability insurance policy to protect themselves and their firms in case something goes wrong or they find themselves facing litigation.
Liability insurance covers a wide range of possible allegations, including things like errors, omissions, and negligent acts performed as part of your duties as a Notary Public. Even the most accurate and careful Notary Public is bound to make a single innocent mistake over the course of his or her career, illustrating why Liability insurance is so important.
Mistakes made in our personal lives can typically be corrected, but this isn’t the case when you’re acting as a trusted professional. Malpractice and negligence are serious errors that can lead to extremely costly lawsuits. Being protected through insurance allows Notary Publics to perform their duties to the best of their abilities without worrying about a small mistake escalating into expensive litigation.
1. Do I Really Need Liability Insurance?
It’s surprisingly common for Notary Publics and other professionals to face claims of professional negligence, and Professional Liability insurance will give you protection from allegations, even if they are proven to be false.
Without a Liability insurance policy, you could find yourself responsible for thousands or tens of thousands in dollars in both legal fees and settlements or verdicts. Having a plan from a reliable firm will ensure that you’re protected from these costs, allowing your business to continue functioning even in a worst-case scenario.
2. What Will an Insurance Policy Cover?
It’s important to understand the differences between Professional Liability insurance and General Liability insurance. While every Notary Public should be covered by both, they provide protection for different types of allegations.
3. Professional Liability Insurance
Professional Liability insurance is intended to cover Notary Publics from claims directly related to their professional responsibilities. These allegations can vary widely, but some of the most common cases include negligence and malpractice. This type of coverage is therefore also known as Errors and Omissions (E & O) insurance.
Professional Liability insurance won’t cover you from anything outside of your professional life. It is also not applicable to any intentional acts, meaning that you can only file claims for mistakes and unintended errors. Given how common these situations are, there’s no reason to put off getting coverage.
Professional Liability insurance policies cover attorney fees, settlements, and verdicts up to the policy limit. These are generally somewhere between $1,000,000 and $2,000,000, giving you extensive coverage for even very serious claims at a surprisingly low cost.
4. How to Reduce the Likelihood of Claims
While some unintended circumstances are bound to happen at one point or another, there are some effective ways for Notary Publics to lower the chances that they’re found liable:
5. Maintaining Accurate Records
If you’re ever accused of any professional negligence or malpractice, it can be extremely helpful to have consistent documentation of everything involved in the claim. This will help you reference transactions and corroborate your own version of events.
6. Staying Within Your Limits
In an attempt to help your clients, it may be tempting to give them legal or informal advice even if you’re not a professional in the field involved. Even if it’s given outside of a formal setting, inaccurate legal advice can be the grounds for a lawsuit, and it’s very possible that you’ll be found liable for damages.
7. Purchasing Notary Public Liability Insurance
Even if you do everything in your power to be an effective and reliable Notary Public, it’s impossible to know what the consequences of each individual notarization could be. A comprehensive Notary Public Liability insurance plan will ensure that you’re protected from any unexpected negative outcomes, allowing you and your firm to maintain business as usual.
How Much Does Notary Public Liability Insurance Cost?
Since Notary Public Liability insurance policies are designed to be available for every Notary Public, the cost of any given plan is dependent on a few factors. These can include the size of your firm, your previous record of claims, and your overall experience.
While there’s no way to calculate exactly what a specific policy will cost, plans typically come with affordable premiums while providing substantial coverage. Whether you’re a new Notary Public or you have decades of experience, Notary Public Liability insurance is the best way to protect you and your firm.