Police officers and other law enforcement officials have challenging jobs. Anyone who knows somebody who works in this field is aware that there are certain risks and liabilities that law enforcement officers face while protecting their communities. This is why police liability insurance exists. Here is a close look at this type of insurance policy and what coverages are generally included in it.
Police Liability Insurance Coverage
A police professional liability insurance policy is designed to cover incidents where law enforcement officers take actions that may be considered “wrongful.” More specifically, this type of policy will cover damages arising from property damage, bodily injury, or personal injury resulting from “wrongful acts,” which include malicious, fraudulent, or otherwise dishonest behavior. If a lawsuit is filed against a police officer for any reason (e.g. excessive force, infliction of emotional distress), this policy would also help cover the ensuing legal costs, including attorney fees.
Generally speaking, law enforcement operations include the following activities:
- Ownership and maintenance of premises used to enforce the law, including ownership and operation of jails or other similar facilities;
- Providing medical assistance following a crime or accident; and
- Moonlighting (if approved by the named insured’s police department).
A liability insurance policy also normally includes the following coverages:
- Violations of civil rights under federal, state, or local law;
- Owned and borrowed watercraft;
- No intentional acts exclusion; and
- Pure mental anguish.
Optional coverages may include umbrella excess protection and occurrence and claims-made coverage forms.
Limits and Deductibles For Police Liability Insurance
Limits for a police liability insurance policy may likely vary depending on the “wrongful act” committed. Aggregate limits can only be lowered by the payment of damages, not defense-related expenses. Meanwhile, deductibles typically apply to damages, legal expenses, and other parties’ personal property.
Cost Of Police Liability Insurance
The cost of a police liability policy generally depends on multiple factors, including:
- Local crime rates;
- A law enforcement officer’s specific coverage needs; and
- The type of police department an officer works for.
What Does Police Liability Insurance Not Cover?
As beneficial as police liability insurance is, this type of policy does not cover all claims. Here are some examples of claims this policy would not protect you against:
- Personal injuries sustained outside of routine law enforcement activities;
- Damage to police vehicles that occurs outside of law enforcement activities; and
- Malfunction of firearms or other essential police equipment.
As costly as this type of policy may initially sound, its benefits undoubtedly outweigh its costs, as it will ensure that you are protected while enforcing the law. Many legal experts who specialize in law enforcement issues have said that requiring officers to acquire liability insurance would significantly reduce the occurrence of incidents involving police brutality and ultimately help increase trust between law enforcement officials and their communities. This subject has become increasingly debated in the United States in the aftermath of several high-profile cases of police officers shooting – or using some other form of excessive force – against unarmed black Americans.
Each state has its own statutes regarding civil and criminal penalties, however, and its own ways of handling claims of police misconduct. In July 2020, for example, New York lawmakers introduced legislation to make police liability insurance mandatory. One month earlier, Colorado passed a bill that made officers personally liable for up to $25,000 in damages in misconduct-related lawsuits. Nevertheless, no state or municipality currently requires police officers to carry liability insurance.
Speak To The Insurance Experts At JMG
Reach out to the agents at JMG Insurance Agency to learn more about liability insurance and its benefits. Since our founding in 1916, we have been dedicated to providing high-quality insurance solutions to clients throughout Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, and Hawaii. As an independent agency, we work closely with several insurers that have proven their stability and reliability over the years.
If you are a police officer or other law enforcement official, it is strongly recommended that you purchase a police professional liability policy. This policy will help cover damages arising from property damage, bodily injury, or personal injury resulting from a “wrongful act.” In the event of a lawsuit, it will also cover the ensuing legal fees. The pricing of our policies depends on your unique needs: we offer plans that provide $100,000 in coverage and $250,000 in coverage. Call JMG Insurance Agency today at (844) 304-7332 or contact us online for more information about our police professional liability insurance policies.