If you’re a police officer, you may be feeling some concern given how much the national conversation regarding law enforcement in recent years has shifted toward police brutality and its consequences. In the wake of incidents that resulted in unarmed black Americans being killed by policemen — such as the case involving George Floyd and Office Derek Chauvin in Minneapolis — many states or cities have now banned chokeholds and other aggressive forms of restraining civilians. Similar to many private-sector workers, police officers need to protect themselves against certain fundamental risks. One highly effective way to do this is by acquiring police liability insurance.
What Is Police Liability Insurance?
Police liability insurance covers any incidents involving excessive force or “wrongful” acts. If somebody sues you following such a situation, a liability policy would help pay for legal fees related to the lawsuit. Most such lawsuits cover damages tied to property damage and bodily injury.
Generally speaking, a city’s taxpayers bear the burden of paying for a police officer’s claims when he is involved in an incident. Police liability coverage can help alleviate this burden. According to FiveThirtyEight, the 3 largest cities in the U.S. — New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles — spent a combined $2.5 billion over the last 10 years to settle police misconduct lawsuits.
Who Needs Police Liability Coverage?
The reality is that every type of police officer can benefit from liability insurance. Traffic patrolmen, SWAT team members, and cops who work at desks may have different responsibilities, but they all frequently interact with civilians in some way. Just be sure to carefully determine and evaluate your risks before selecting a policy so you know what level of coverage you need.
4 Reasons to Get Police Liability Insurance
Here are the four primary reasons why you should have police liability insurance if you’re an officer:
Restoring Authority to Police Chiefs
According to Northeastern University law professor Deborah Ramirez, one of the main reasons behind the current lack of accountability for law enforcement officers in the United States following incidents of police brutality has to do with police unions.
Ramirez says that these organizations often engage in collective bargaining and thereby make it difficult for police chiefs to discipline or dismiss officers for bad behavior. Requiring officers to carry professional liability coverage could help change this.
Coverage for Jail Premises and Operations
If you’re a police officer who frequently has to escort people to jail, a police liability policy can potentially cover the cost of transporting individuals from one facility to the next. Be sure to ask your insurance company whether it can cover all types of jail-related premises and operations.
Coverage for Property Damage
Many different types of property (including commercial buildings) can become damaged while you work as a police officer, especially if you drive a patrol car. A liability insurance policy can protect you from the consequences of these damages.
Coverage for Failing to Provide First-Aid
If someone becomes severely injured on your watch and you fail to provide first-aid, that person can easily file a lawsuit against you. A liability policy can cover the cost of legal fees.
Each state handles police accountability differently, although many states are beginning to introduce more strict laws. For example, Colorado passed a law in June 2020 that makes officers responsible for 5% or $25,000 of damages should their employer deem that they committed a wrongful act. Florida and California are considering passing similar laws.
Speak to the Police Liability Insurance Experts
Reach out to the professionals at JMG Insurance Agency to learn more about police liability coverage and its benefits. Since 1916, we’ve been dedicated to providing high-quality insurance solutions to customers throughout Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Hawaii, and Massachusetts. As an independent agency, we work closely with several reliable and stable insurance carriers.
If you’re a police officer, you can benefit significantly from acquiring protective liability insurance. This type of policy is designed to protect officers against a variety of risks, including bodily injury and property damage. However, a liability policy will most notably cover you against wrongful acts. It can also help pay for legal fees associated with a lawsuit. We offer plans that require $100,000, $250,000, and $500,000 in coverage. Our insurance team will always help you assess your specific insurance needs if you’re unsure about these.
Call JMG Insurance Agency today at (844) 304-7332 or visit us online for more information.