Smart Answers

Q: What insurance do I require as a Web designer? --G.B., Palo Alto, Calif.

A: All businesses need property and general-premises and operations insurance, including workers' compensation. But as a Web designer you must be covered for unique risks. What if an e-commerce site you designed goes down? Or if a client's site has a security breach? You could be held responsible. You might even be named in a "trade dress" suit for copyright infringement if you were to design a site too similar to one you saw elsewhere.

Rick Hagemeier of Bolton & Co. insurance brokers, a Pasadena (Calif.) brokerage, suggests buying general liability with advertising-injury coverage in case you get dragged into a lawsuit arising from an ad that runs on a site you've designed. You should also have an errors-and-omissions policy. Minimum costs for a $1 million policy run $2,500 annually with a $5,000 deductible for a basic package, but can reach as high as $10,000 with a $10,000 deductible if you add other coverage. Check out Bolton's Web site ( Marsh Inc. ( also specializes in insurance for tech companies. The Web presents as many risks as opportunities, so make sure you're protected.

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