A notary public serves as an impartial witness to deter fraud when someone signs important documents. Notaries are used to witness the signing of property deeds, wills, legal documents, etc. and are there to make sure that the signer is who they say they are and are not signing anything under duress.
Why would a notary need E&O insurance? There are many reasons. Let’s take a look.
- Top 4 Providers of Notary E&O Insurance
- What is Notary E&O Insurance?
- Who Needs Notary E&O Insurance?
- What is the Difference Between Notary E&O Insurance and Surety Bond?
- What does Notary E&O Insurance Cover?
- How Much does Notary E&O Insurance Cost?
Top 4 Providers of Notary E&O Insurance
CoverWallet: Best for Online Quotes
CoverWallet will take all of your information and then generate quotes from top insurance companies. This streamlines the process of buying insurance online. In case you prefer to speak to someone, CoverWallet can do that.
For a notary in Ohio, CoverWallet gave us this quote:
National Notary Association: Best for Affordable Coverage
Generally, it’s a good idea to get insurance through professional organizations, as they may offer discounts or group rates.
For example, in Ohio, the National Notary Association gave us these rates:
Hiscox: Best for Comprehensive Coverage
Hiscox is an online business insurance company with a number of available insurance products. They can give you a quote in minutes and will tailor your policy to your specific needs. You can get your certificate of insurance emailed to you immediately.
Notary Rotary: Best for Flexible Coverage
By working with such insurance companies as Travelers, Progressive, CNA and Merchants Bonding Company, Notary Rotary insures all fifty states. They offer limits of up to $100,000 for notaries, and they list out all of your options. They also offer same-day processing.
All you have to do is click on your state, and it will take you to a chart with rates and limits listed. The list below is for New Hampshire.
What is Notary E&O Insurance?
Errors and omissions insurance is also known as professional liability insurance. Professional liability insurance protects you from lawsuits due to your mistakes (errors) or negligence (omissions). Think of it as malpractice insurance for notaries.
For more on this topic, see our article, “What is Professional Liability Insurance? And its cost?”
Mistakes can happen. What if someone forges a signature and you, as a notary, don’t realize it? Could you be sued? Yes, it has happened that a notary has been sued in such instances. Even if the plaintiff doesn’t win the case, you would still be responsible for defending yourself in court. That’s what errors and omissions insurance is for.
Who Needs Notary E&O Insurance?
Lawsuits are increasing, and your chances of being sued are going up. If you do any independent notarization, it pays to have errors and omissions insurance. If you work for someone else, check to see if their insurance covers you.
If you are a self-employed notary, you should get E&O insurance to protect yourself.
What is the Difference Between Notary E&O Insurance and Surety Bond?
When you started as a notary, you bought a surety bond. It’s a little confusing, but this bond protects the public, or the consumer, from mistakes you might make as a notary. Surety bond doesn’t protect you or pay for the expenses incurred to you if someone files a claim against you. Appraiser E&O insurance does.
If someone files suit against you, the bond would pay the loss to the consumers, but then you would have to reimburse them. E&O insurance would just pay the claim. E&O insurance will also pay all legal fees, including attorney fees and court costs. If the payout to the consumers is greater than the surety bond, appraiser E&O insurance also cover the difference too.
What does Notary E&O Insurance Cover?
E&O insurance covers:
- The amount of the claim against you
- Attorney fees
- Court costs
Different states have slightly different policies, so be sure to check your state’s regulations on E&O insurance.
What doesn’t It Cover?
E&O insurance won’t help if you deliberately commit fraud. It also won’t cover anything other than your work as a notary.
Notary E&O Insurance in Florida
Different states have different requirements when it comes to notary E&O insurance. Surety bond is required in Florida but E&O insurance is not required for notaries. However, as discussed above, you should still obtain an E&O insurance policy to protect yourself and your business as a notary.
How Much Notary E&O Insurance do I Need?
It is entirely up to you. However, in general, an E&O policy covering up to $25,000 or $50,000 is common.
How Much does Notary E&O Insurance Cost?
The median annual cost of E&O insurance is about $60 a month.
When we get quotes online from the best 4 insurance companies that we recommend below, notary E&O insurance costs are in the range of $30 to $104 a month. It is a wide range depending on the level of coverage.
What Benefits Should I Look for When Purchasing Notary E&O Insurance?
You want to balance the cost of the policy with what you can afford. It doesn’t do you any good to have $7,000,000 in professional liability insurance if you struggle to make the monthly payments. On the other hand, you need enough insurance to cover you in case of a lawsuit.
Also, take note of the exclusions in the policy. For example, if you have E&O insurance through your employer, any notary work you do outside of your job is probably excluded.
Notaries are responsible for making sure signatures are complete and authentic. If you make a mistake, someone could sue you, leaving yourself and your business at grave financial risk. Protect yourself by getting errors and omissions insurance. Odds are, you’ll never have to use it, but it’ll be reassuring to know you’re protected.