I got asked this question a while back, and at last I’ve put together some content which I think can stand up to some small amount of scrutiny online… “What should I put down when I buy business insurance as a web developer???”
The answer is – and isn’t it always – it’s complicated!
I’m going to make a recommendation for the service I used to order business insurance for our eCommerce agency, and describe our decision making processes – but you should, as ever, make up your own mind, do your own research, and understand that while my advice may be helpful to you, ultimately it’s your business, and therefore, the risks are yours.
Also note, the service I recommend (Axa Business Insurance) in this post serves the UK market, so if you’re browsing from another country, different prices and service providers (and service names) will apply, though the basic points are likely still to be useful.
With all that said, let’s dive in…
Choosing a Business Type / Occupation
Your first hurdle as a web developer is choosing a business type from the list of occupations.
This sounds easy, but then, remember, you’re a web developer. How many times has a friend or family member pulled a confused face when you’ve tried explain “what you do” to them.
It’s just like this with insurance.
They need to understand what you do, in order to assess your risk, and therefore arrive at a price for your business insurance premium.
Now, this might sound like it is not important, but remember, if you come to make a claim, then if you said your business was something quite removed, and the thing you are claiming for is not in this category, there is a chance your claim may be denied.
What do I mean?
Well, let me give you an example. Let’s say you run a boutique eCommerce design business. You design the web store, you make the graphics and the illustrations, and you also write copy for your clients. You write a piece of copy for an email newsletter, for your client, and they get sued. Your client sues you. On your business insurance, you put “Web Site Design” alone. You did not say you were writing copy for clients. Will your insurance cover your liability?
List of occupations which might cover “web development”
Personally, I err on the side of caution when it comes to insurance, and try to select as many applicable categories as I think cover “what we do as a business”.
I’ve compiled the following list which might cover some aspects of web development, from the over 800 “occupations” that Axa Business Insurance allows you to select from:
- Business advisory service
- Business consultancy
- Business training
- Computer aided design
- Computer aided design (non-architectural/engineering)
- Computer consultancy
- Computer Developer
- Computer engineer (installation/repair/maintenance)
- Computer games designer
- Computer Games Retailing
- Computer graphics
- Computer hardware/software consultancy
- Computer programming
- Computer Retailing – Business
- Computer Retailing – General
- Computer Retailing – Home & Games
- Computer software consultancy
- Computer software development (non-customised)
- Computer Supplies
- Computer systems analysis
- Computer training
- Data processing
- Design consultancy (non-manual work)
- Design engineering (non-manual work)
- Internet/online services
- IT Business Consultant
- IT consultancy
- IT contracting
- IT maintenance
- IT Management Consultant
- IT supply
- Project manager (IT industry)
- Promotional consultancy
- Proof reading
- Public relations
- Software consultancy
- Software engineering
- Web site design
Obviously, not all will apply in all cases, but several might. My recommendation is to select the most applicable three or four. If you make software, mention this. If you are a consultant, then ensure something covers this word, too.
Likewise, if you are an illustrator (ever) or copywriter (ever) try to include these in your insurance too.
Leave a comment at the bottom of this article if you are unsure – allow me and any other random internet visitors to rubber duck your issue for you 🙂
Once you’ve chosen your business type(s) you should decide if you want professional liability insurance.
Professional Liability Insurance for Web Developers
This covers you if you mess up and get sued. The reason this is a big decision is it can add significantly to the premium – because getting sued for your work can be way more costly than other business insurance claims for the insurance company.
I’d say, initially, go for the maximum you think makes sense, and see if the premium makes your eyes water or not.
I would also add, that some procurement platforms and Governmental contracts insist on certain levels of indemnity insurance, so try to make sure your policy squares this away (you’ll likely know if this applies to your business!).
Select all the options and the level of cover you want, and complete. You should get a price online, and you’ll know if this is affordable for you. There is a risk equation for you to do at this point which I can’t help you with!