As a private investigator spending much of your time performing background checks or writing reports, you may consider your work as very low risk and wonder if you actually need public liability insurance. However, your work could leave you vulnerable to claims. Here's why you should have a chat with your insurance broker to discuss taking out public liability coverage.
As a PI, you could find yourself on the wrong end of a law suit for a number of reasons:
- missing important evidence that leads to someone losing a claim against a third party
- being accused of invading someone's privacy, defamation or breach of confidentiality
- losing important personal documents or data
- damaging property whilst gaining access to premises as part of an investigation
- bodily injury to a third party
Public liability insurance will provide you with cover if something goes wrong during the course of your work and you are found to be to blame. This means that any claims for compensation will be dealt with, including any legal defence costs you might incur.
Prevention is better than cure
You can go some way towards avoiding public liability claims by putting in place a few preventative measures.
First of all, always make sure that you have a clear contract between yourself and your clients, detailing exactly what they want you to do for them and what they intend to do with the information that you provide them with. This can help to reduce your liability in the event that there is a later dispute.
If you employ staff, you must make sure that they are all appropriately licensed to carry out investigative work. This applies to all employees from supervisors, right up to partners and should also include any other PI companies that you work with. The same goes for you too; you could find yourself in very deep water if you carry out work that entails obtaining someone's personal information and passing it on to a client, if you don't have the correct licence. It's worth noting here that public liability insurance only protects you if you are acting within the law, as per your licence.
It's extremely important that you are completely au fait with all aspects of the law concerning individual cases that you are working on. If you're at all unsure, you can obtain all the information you will need from bodies like the Institute of Professional Investigators.
Your work as a private investigator may place you in situations where you could find yourself looking at legal action. This is why it's so important that you have public liability insurance that covers the activities of you and your staff. Have a chat with your insurance broker for more information and to make sure that you are adequately covered.