Security Guard Liability Insurance for Private Patrols

Posted by Betsy S. on 6/13/2016
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Whether your security patrol company is a small startup or a substantial established business, liability insurance for your team will be front and center in your concerns. Here's a quick overview of key points to ensure that your business, your clients and your security team have the coverage they need.

Find the Right Insurance Company

Make sure you find an insurance company that's licensed and registered in your state. Insurance shopping can be a dicey business, especially if you're searching online, and you have to exercise due diligence to determine that you're dealing with a legitimate insurance carrier. Insurers that cover law enforcement operations are a good bet for your private security company, because they'll be familiar with the general risk terrain. There are also insurance companies that offer specialized products for security guards, and it's worth checking to see if any of these are available in your area. Some insurers will offer you a package deal that includes worker's compensation, bonding, security guards' auto insurance and even health insurance.

Have Information Ready for Your Insurance Carrier

Before you contact an agent for a liability insurance quote, you should assemble the material that the agent will need to pass on to the underwriter. These items typically include your policy manual, business plan, hiring procedures, a copy of any training materials your company uses, use-of-force policy, information about your guards' work environments and advertisement copy.

What Should a Liability Policy Cover?

Providing security patrols entails risks arising from numerous unpredictable events. Each state has different requirements for what your insurance policy needs to cover, and in some states, you may have to show proof of coverage before you will be given a business license. States regulate the amount of coverage as well; for example, New York requires security guards to carry general liability in the amount of $300,000 total coverage, whereas California mandates a $1 million policy for personal injury as well as property damage. Some types of liability that you may have to insure against include personal injury, property damage, false arrest, false imprisonment, libel, slander, malicious prosecution and violation of the right of privacy. These protections are extended to your customers and their clients, but your guards have to be protected as well. Security guards that work in retail environments may routinely participate in apprehending shoplifters, and any almost anyone on security patrol may encounter armed and desperate law breakers.

Considerations for Insuring Armed Officers

Due to media broadcasting of mass shootings at schools and public venues, your security company may be receiving more requests for armed officers. In the 10 years between 2005 and 2015, the number of four-year colleges employing armed guards rose from 68 percent to 75 percent. Security Magazine reports, however, that the risk and expense of employing armed guards sometimes outweighs the actual improvement in safety they provide.

If you offer your clients the option of armed guards, you may find that the liability insurance policies to cover them are high priced and hard to find. Furthermore, fewer carriers in the preferred markets are willing to write policies to cover such guards, and the ones that will are tightening their eligibility requirements. In some cases, according to Security Magazine, rates quoted for firms that employ armed guards are twice as high as for organizations that use only unarmed personnel. For settings in which it's truly necessary that your officers carry firearms, you can lower your insurance costs by requiring psychological tests, top-notch training and positive track records for your armed personnel.

You're well aware of the key role that your security team plays in protecting the safety of people and property. Buying the right liability insurance policy enables you to have the confidence of knowing that you're also protecting the well-being of your company.