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Professional Indemnity Insurance in Australia

Protect your business from potential legal costs and claims with professional indemnity insurance. 

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Does your business provide a professional service or advice? If so, there's always the chance of human error or a disgruntled client. This can leave you on the receiving end of a lawsuit - whether it's your fault or not. Professional indemnity insurance will help if that happens.

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Professional indemnity insurance is tailored to your business. You can either get quotes online or enter your details to receive a call back from a broker.

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What is professional indemnity insurance?

Professional indemnity insurance, sometimes called professional liability insurance, is designed to cover the potential costs that can come from workplace mistakes - or alleged mistakes - for self-employed people and businesses.

For example, if you survey a house and tell the prospective buyers that it's sound, but they later discover it has major structural faults, they may sue. Your professional indemnity insurance would help cover the costs of that court case.

Professional indemnity insurance can also protect you against unfair claims. For example, if a client falsely accuses you of shoddy work. Your policy would cover the cost of investigation, legal fees, and even the cost of defending your reputation.

How much does professional indemnity insurance cost?

That's tough to say. It'll depend on a few different factors including the type of work you do, your annual revenue, and the level of cover you'd like.

In February 2021, we requested three different quotes from five different insurers, to get a picture of how much professional indemnity insurance might cost for a self-employed tax agent with $150,000 annual revenue. Here's what we found:

BrandCost for $250,000 coverCost for $500,00 coverCost for $1,000,000 coverExcess payable on claims
AIG$644.38$649.05$994.35$1,000
Berkley$361.21$361.21$691.92$0
DUAL$479.31$479.31$644.44$1,000
QBE$327.75$415.24$619.38$1,000
Vero$389.20$411.07$498.57$0
Average$440.37$463.18$689.78$600

Data was taken from our quoting engine.

How much cover do I need?

That's another tricky one. Some industries set a mandatory minimum, but others don't.

The best way to figure out exactly how much cover you need is to talk to a broker or a financial advisor. They'll be able to help you pinpoint which policy might be best, and what level of cover is appropriate for your business.

Get advice from a broker

Professional indemnity insurance is complicated. Fill out the form below, to receive free advice from a broker.

Find the right professional indemnity insurance for your business

If you are ready to speak with a consultant about different business insurance options available, simply enter your details in the form. Keep reading if you want to learn more about the different types of cover available.
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What's covered by professional indemnity

Professional indemnity is designed to protect you and your business if you ever make a mistake at work and the client sues. It'll also protect you if you didn't make the mistake, but you have an unhappy client who claims you did. But it won't protect against everything.

What is covered

What's coveredExample
Breach of dutyYou fail to lodge a client's important paperwork in time
Breach of privacy or confidentialityYou accidentally share a customer's personal information online
Defamation, libel or slanderYou publish something online which damages a person's reputation
Intellectual property infringementYou accidentally breach copyright laws in a design you give to a client
Legal feesThe legal costs of investigating, defending and settling claims
Reputation repairPublic relations costs deigned to repair your reputation if it's damaged
Loss or damage to documentsA tax agency is severely damaged along with receipts given by clients

What is NOT covered

What is not coveredExample
Issues known prior to insuranceYou receive a complaint from a customer then take out cover
Criminal conductYou use your client's information to open a credit card
Damage to propertyYou visit a client's home and accidentally break something
Intentional actsYou use below-standard materials for a house you are working on
Fraud and dishonestyYou claim to have qualifications that you do not
Fines and penaltiesIf you are ordered to pay a fine, this is unlikely to be covered
BankruptcyIf your business goes bankrupt, your policy won't cover related claims
Accidental injuryYou a construct a faulty wall which ends up collapsing on someone

Key factors that will affect your quote

Professional indemnity insurance isn't one-size-fits-all. Lots of different factors are taken into account when calculating the price you pay. They include:

  • Number of staff. The more staff employed at your company, the higher your premium will be. That's because as the number of employees grows, so does the chance of human error.
  • Annual turnover. Businesses with a lower annual turnover will enjoy lower premiums. That's because you face less financial risk than others.
  • Type of client. If you work on large-scale, multi-million dollar projects, your premiums will be higher than if your clientele is on the lower end of the spectrum.
  • Industry. Certain industries carry higher premiums as the potential cost of mistakes is higher. For example, a lawyer would face higher premiums than a graphic designer.
  • Claims history. Have you been sued before? If so, you'll likely face higher premiums than someone who hasn't.
  • Benefits. Not all policies are created equal. A more comprehensive level of cover will cost you more money.
  • Excess. The excess is the amount you pay first, if you ever have to claim. The higher the excess, the lower your monthly premiums.

Some important things to understand

When looking for professional indemnity insurance, you'll come across some terms you might not have heard of before. We've cleared them up for you here.

TermWhat it means
Claims madeIf you switch insurers after the event occurs, but the claim is made under a new insurer, the new insurer must handle the claim.
Run-off coverRun off cover extends the policy after you have stopped trading. For example, if someone makes a claim after you've sold your business or retired.
Fidelity insuranceAn additional cover that protects you against dishonest acts by employees. It can be taken out as a separate policy or included as an extension.
Policy retroactive dateThe date from which your professional indemnity insurer will cover you. Typically, the retroactive date will either be unlimited or specified.

An unlimited retroactive date means the insurer will cover claims regardless of when they occurred. A specific retroactive date will only offer cover after a specific date.

Cost inclusiveLegal defence costs are included in the maximum amount your insurer will pay for a claim.
Cost exclusiveLegal defence costs are covered in addition to the limit of indemnity, which means it could be a more desirable option.

Do I actually need professional indemnity insurance?

In some cases, yes.

  • Professional indemnity insurance is a legal requirement in many industries. These vary between states so it's worth double checking.
  • Professional indemnity insurance is typically a basic requirement in business contracts, especially if you are dealing with other companies or councils.
  • Professional associations and industry bodies often require their members to have professional indemnity insurance.
  • Some industries require professionals to have professional indemnity insurance before they receive full accreditation.

Even if you don't technically need professional indemnity insurance, it's still a good idea to consider it.

No matter how careful you are, there is always the risk of error. Further, illegitimate claims can also end up costing you a lot of money, not to mention your reputation.

Professional indemnity insurance ensures your business can continue to operate despite having to cover legal costs.

Case studies for specific occupations

Here are some real life examples of professional indemnity insurance claims:

Accountant

Accountant

An accountant advised their client that an expense was tax-deductible. The ATO investigated the claim and fined the client. The accountant was liable to pay legal fees to defend the claim and pay compensation to the client. Having professional indemnity insurance ensured those costs were covered.

Building inspector

Building inspector

A building inspector completed a pre-purchase report for a client buying a new house. It was later found that there was significant structural damage in the roof that was not identified in the report. The client sued the building inspector for damages. The building inspector's expenses were covered by their PI insurance policy.

Event manager

Event manager

An event coordinator double-booked a room at a function centre, resulting in the cancellation of one of the events. The client whose event was cancelled made a claim seeking damages for lost business and to recoup expenses. The events coordinator was able to cover these costs because they had a PI policy in place.

Why price isn't everything

We understand that price is important - but it shouldn't be the only factor you look at when choosing professional indemnity insurance. Keep an eye out for insurers that:

  • Understand your industry and manage policies of other similar businesses.
  • Can produce evidence of favourable outcomes for clients
  • Are approved by your industry's governing body or membership association
  • Have clear policy guidelines regarding inclusions and exclusions
  • Take a personal approach and assess your business specifically

It is important to get a number of quotes and talk to a variety of insurers before committing to any particular policy.

Read more on this topic

  • Guide to Run-Off Insurance

    Want a professional indemnity insurance policy that also covers you for past projects and services? Find out more about run-off insurance.

  • Professional indemnity insurance for physiotherapists

    Are you a practising physio or an owner of a clinic? Make sure you have professional indemnity cover.

  • Professional indemnity insurance for travel agents

    This guide looks at the exposures travel agents face and how PI Insurance protects them from claims of negligence, error or omission.

  • Professional indemnity insurance for lawyers

    Lawyers are often instrumental in pursuing claims for others, but ironically, they too can be sued for breaching their duty of care.

  • Professional indemnity insurance for psychologists

    Receive quotes for Professional Indemnity Insurance for Psychologists from Australian Business Insurance providers.

  • Financial advisor insurance

    What is professional indemnity insurance and why is it so important for financial advisers in particular to have it?

  • Professional Indemnity Insurance for Accountants

    Why do accountants need professional indemnity insurance? Why do they need public liability insurance? This article looks at the many risks that accountants are exposed to in the course of doing business and will hopefully convince every accountant who reads it that PI Insurance is not something they can afford to be without.

  • Project Manager Professional Indemnity Insurance

    Discover what it means to be a project manager, what happens when they fail to deliver what the client is expecting and why professional indemnity is important.

  • Cheap professional indemnity insurance

    Finding the right professional indemnity insurance policy for your business is an important task to make sure your company is protected.

  • Professional indemnity insurance: Nursing and Midwifery

    Nursing is a vital profession in hospitals and nursing homes around Australia, but the people who work as nurses are exposed to a unique range of risks. If a nurse were to make a mistake or an error of judgement — for example administer the wrong medication, fail to follow a doctor’s instructions or give incorrect advice to a patient — they could find themselves the subject of a lawsuit for a breach of their professional duty.

    This is where professional indemnity insurance shows its worth. This type of cover offers much-needed financial protection for nurses against claims of negligence or malpractice. It covers the cost of your legal defence as well as any compensation you may be legally required to pay to a third party. Public relations costs to repair your professional image are also covered by professional indemnity policies.

    In order to find the right professional indemnity insurance policy for you, compare policies at finder.com.au and seek advice from colleagues. Compare quotes from a number of insurers and seek help from an insurance consultant if required.

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30 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    AdamJuly 17, 2018

    How much does business insurance usually cost?

      Default Gravatar
      JoelJuly 17, 2018

      Hi Adam,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      As with most types of protective insurance, the cost for cover to be taken out can vary dramatically depending on the insured’s cover needs. In the case of professional indemnity insurance, this will depend on whether the policy is for a sole trader or for a business looking to provide cover for a significant number of employees. While sole traders may be able to get adequate cover for just a few hundred dollars, the cost of insuring a multinational company could run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Key factors that impact what you pay include:

      – Number of staff employed by company and annual turnover. Sole traders or companies with say 15 employees won’t require the same level of cover as large-scale organisation.

      – Types of clients that company/professional services. Professionals that work on large-scale,. multi-million dollar projects will require a higher level of cover than smaller firms.

      – Industry. The nature of the service provided and the level of risk for claims being made will impact how much is paid for cover.
      Policy inclusions and exclusions. Obviously more comprehensive protection packages with increased levels of cover will cost more than more basic policies.

      – The cost of professional indemnity insurance is largely based on the percentage of your companies total legal spend and the likelihood of the company being taken to court. The insurer that you go with and the policy that you choose will also play a major role in the final cost of cover.

      To get a professional, personalized advice about business insurance, I suggest you fill out the form above to speak to an insurance broker.

      Cheers,
      Joel

    Default Gravatar
    ChristinaAugust 3, 2017

    Regarding aged care and disability services, are cheaper premium payments possible under professional indemnity insurance if regular employee training is provided to staff?

      Default Gravatar
      ArnoldAugust 4, 2017

      Hi Christina,

      Thanks for your inquiry.

      Usually, if regular employee training is provided to the staff there is a possibility of lowering the premiums. In order to confirm this, you may have to contact your insurer.

      Hope this information helped.

      Cheers,
      Arnold

    Default Gravatar
    AllieJuly 18, 2017

    I am establishing an online business that sells parenting resources and ebooks. I don’t have any qualifications as such but have developed my resources based on experience. Do I need professional indemnity insurance and/or products liability insurance?
    thanks

      Default Gravatar
      JonathanAugust 1, 2017

      Hello Allie,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      As of the moment, recommending which cover to take is within the scope of a licensed insurance broker. You can leave your details on the “Enquiry Now” form so that you will be interviewed and assessed to know which type of covers suits your needs.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Jonathan

    Default Gravatar
    LauraAugust 1, 2016

    Can I cancel my policy if I wish at any time? And is there any cancellation fee prior to the termination date of a professional indemnity insurance?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      RichardAugust 2, 2016Staff

      Hi Laura,

      Thanks for your question. finder.com.au is a comparison service and we are not permitted to provide our users with personalised financial advice. Generally, you are entitled to cancel your policy as soon as your insurer receives a written request from you to cancel the policy. Whether or not there is a cancellation fee will depend on your insurer, as there may be an administration fee applicable.

      I hope this was helpful,
      Richard

    Default Gravatar
    ElleMarch 9, 2016

    If I have Professional Indemnity Insurance but I work for a company, and a claim is made against me, would my employer be liable to pay any damages/compensation? And if so, does my insurance extend to cover them or do they need to have their own insurance?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      RichardMarch 9, 2016Staff

      Hi Elle,

      Thanks for your question.

      It will depend on what the claim is for and what your policy covers. It’s best to speak with your insurer directly on the claim and to know how to go through the process of a claim.

      Alternatively, if you would like to speak with an advisor about your options, please enter your contact details into the form for professional indemnity insurance and a broker will be in touch.

      I hope this was helpful,
      Richard

    Default Gravatar
    sallyJune 20, 2015

    need to know types of insurance to be taken out for businesses that will indemnify them and/or their employees

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      RichardJune 22, 2015Staff

      Hi Sally,

      Thanks for your question.

      You may want to speak with an advisor about the specific needs of your company, please enter your details into the professional indemnity insurance contact form for free advice from a broker.

      I hope this was helpful,
      Richard

    Default Gravatar
    RachelJune 10, 2015

    I am an Australian business coach who will be providing virtual services to US & Canadian clients. I understand that most Australian professional indemnity policies will not cover actions brought in these jurisdictions. What are my options?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      RichardJune 11, 2015Staff

      Hi Rachel,

      Thanks for your question.

      You may want to speak with an advisor about the specific needs of your company, please enter your details into the professional indemnity insurance contact form for free advice from a broker.

      I hope this was helpful,
      Richard

    Default Gravatar
    DellysMay 19, 2015

    I have extensive experience and post grad qualifications in counselling but have always worked within an agency. Having recently retired and relocated to a rural WA town where there are limited services, I see/hear a lot of distress so I wish to open a solo practitioner counselling service. Is there a difference (insurance wise)if I provide a free service or charge for services?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      RichardMay 20, 2015Staff

      Hi Dellys,

      Thanks for your question. Professional indemnity insurance protects you if you’re providing your customers with a service, in your case counselling. This applies even though you may have provided your services free of charge.

      I hope this was helpful,
      Richard

    Default Gravatar
    MichaelMay 6, 2015

    I an a financial planner and have just resigned from the licensee. I was paying the annual PI Insurance by six monthly installments with two remaining. They are asking me to pay the full years amount. As I have only worked 121 days out of a possible 365 with the licensee, am I entitled to a refund on a pro rata basis or do I have to pay the outstanding amount?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      RichardMay 12, 2015Staff

      Hi Michael,

      Thanks for your question. Most policies don’t work a pro rata but you may want to contact your insurer for clarification. If you would like to speak with one of the insurance consultant in our panel about options available to you, please complete the contact form at the top of the page.

      I hope this was helpful,
      Richard

    Default Gravatar
    PeterDecember 7, 2014

    Does a professional relocation agent need professional indemnity insurance?

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      RichardDecember 8, 2014Staff

      Hi Peter,

      Thanks for your question. Any professionals that provide advice or a service should consider PI insurance. If you would like to speak with an insurance consultant, please fill out the quote form above and a broker will be in touch to provide you with a free personalised quote.

      I hope this was helpful,
      Richard

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