Home staging expert, Debra Gould, offers advice for aspiring home stagers about securing liability insurance for their business.
Don’t let liability concerns stop you from becoming a home stager
If you’re thinking about starting a home staging business but are worried about being held liable if something goes wrong when you’re in someone’s home, you should stop worrying and put that energy into looking for good liability insurance coverage instead.
Your need for insurance coverage is going to differ depending on where in the world you live, but there is some basic advice that applies to all home stagers.
The Staging Diva®, Debra Gould, suggests you contact your own insurance agent as a first step. Gould says, “Call your insurance agent and see if you can add a rider to your existing insurance policy. If not, talk to your broker and see if they can sell you a home stager insurance package because such a thing does exist with different companies.”
The home stager insurance packages Gould mentions cover things like:
- general liability
- fire liability
- business property when it’s in your office and when it’s off premises or in transit
- medical expenses
- computer equipment
- accounts receivable
- money and securities
“One of the first questions you’ll want to ask your broker is how long they’ll insure your items when they’re off premises,” advises The Staging Diva®. She adds, “This is a concern if you’ll be using your own furniture and accessories to fill vacant properties. I have heard of insurers who will only cover the items for 60 days. Clearly this isn’t long enough if you are operating in a slow real estate market, or if the property takes longer to sell because it is overpriced or not well marketed.”
Obtaining liability insurance is something you can be looking into while you take care of all the other steps necessary to start your home staging business.
Every entrepreneur worries about liability at some point, and you can get coverage to protect yourself. It’s not terribly expensive especially if having it will give you the peace of mind to move forward in your business.
To help home stagers ease their fears, The Staging Diva says, “Try to keep some perspective and don’t get overwhelmed with worry about worst-case scenarios that are not that likely to occur. The typical things that might go wrong while you’re staging are things you most likely would not make an insurance claim for. If you broke a vase, for example, you would replace it. If you scratched a floor you would fix it. Now that doesn’t mean you have to put in a new floor! Have you ever had a mover scratch a hardwood floor? They fix it by coloring in the scratch with a marker designed for that purpose. That’s also what they do with scratches to furniture.”
Gould adds, “In the hundreds of homes I’ve staged, I’ve never run into a situation where I’ve broken something irreplaceable, actually I haven’t damaged or broken anything despite staging hundreds of homes. Most of your clients will accept that if you damage something, you’ll take care of it.”
Small things are more likely to happen than major catastrophes. If you’re careful not to place breakables where they can be knocked over, and to be sure you don’t leave candles burning when nobody’s home so there’s not an accident waiting to happen, you’ll probably be fine. But it is advisable to speak with a qualified insurance agent to determine what’s appropriate for you.
Given that insurance premiums go up with any claim, you’re only going to make a claim for something significant, anything else you’ll deal with directly with your clients.
About the author
The creator of the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program, Debra Gould has staged millions of dollars worth of real estate, including seven of her own homes. She is the president of home staging firm SixElements.com and has trained thousands of home stagers to start and grow their own businesses. Gould created the Staging Diva Directory of Home Stagers to help home sellers and real estate agents locate staging services in their area.