Skip to main content

Insurance for Realtors in Oregon: Navigating E&O, General Liability, and Commercial Auto Insurance

By April 26, 2023April 18th, 2024No Comments

Real estate professionals in Oregon face unique risks and challenges that require specific insurance coverage to protect their business and meet state requirements. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve deeper into Errors and Omissions (E&O) and General Liability insurance, discuss the differences between personal and commercial auto insurance, and provide guidance on when each type of coverage is needed. We’ll also outline the do’s and don’ts if you only have personal auto insurance.

Errors and Omissions (E&O) Insurance

E&O insurance is vital coverage for real estate professionals as it protects against financial losses resulting from negligence, errors, or omissions in their work. In Oregon, real estate brokers and principal brokers are required to carry E&O insurance, with specific requirements set by the Oregon Real Estate Agency (OREA).

Key aspects of E&O insurance include:

  1. Coverage for defense costs: E&O insurance can cover legal defense costs in the event of a lawsuit, even if the claim is groundless.
  2. Claim settlements or judgments: If a realtor is found to be at fault, E&O insurance can help pay for claim settlements or judgments, up to the policy’s limits.
  3. Tailored coverage: E&O insurance policies can be customized to address the specific risks faced by real estate professionals, such as fair housing claims, environmental issues, or property management services.
  4. Retroactive and extended reporting periods: E&O policies may offer retroactive coverage for incidents that occurred before the policy’s start date and extended reporting periods for claims made after the policy’s end date.

General Liability Insurance

General Liability insurance is essential for real estate professionals as it protects against third-party claims resulting from:

  1. Bodily injury: If a client or visitor is injured on your property or at a property you’re showing, General Liability insurance can cover their medical expenses and potential legal costs.
  2. Property damage: If you or your employees accidentally cause damage to a client’s property, General Liability insurance can help cover repair or replacement costs.
  3. Personal and advertising injury: General Liability insurance can protect your business against claims of libel, slander, copyright infringement, or invasion of privacy arising from your advertising or business operations.
realtor insurance

Commercial Auto Insurance vs. Personal Auto Insurance

As a real estate professional, it’s crucial to understand the differences between personal and commercial auto insurance and when each type of coverage is needed.

Personal auto insurance is designed for personal use and typically does not cover accidents or damages that occur while using the vehicle for business purposes. On the other hand, commercial auto insurance provides coverage for vehicles used in business-related activities, including accidents, injuries, or damages that occur during work.

When to Choose Commercial Auto Insurance

  1. Regular business use: If you frequently use your vehicle for showing properties, attending meetings, or transporting clients, you may need commercial auto insurance.
  2. Vehicle ownership: If your vehicle is owned or leased by your business, commercial auto insurance is required.
  3. Special equipment: If your vehicle has been modified or has special equipment installed for business use, commercial auto insurance is typically necessary.

Do’s and Don’ts If You Only Have Personal Auto Insurance

If you only have personal auto insurance, it’s important to understand the limitations and potential risks when using your vehicle for work:


  1. Review your policy: Carefully review your personal auto insurance policy to understand any exclusions or limitations for business use.
  2. Discuss your needs with your insurance agent: Consult your insurance agent to determine if your personal auto insurance provides adequate coverage for your business activities, or if you need to obtain commercial auto insurance.


  1. Don’t assume personal auto insurance is enough: Many personal auto insurance policies specifically exclude business-related activities. Don’t assume your personal policy will cover you if an accident occurs while conducting business.
  2. Don’t ignore the risks: Accidents can happen at any time. If you’re involved in an accident while using your vehicle for business and only have personal auto insurance, you could face significant out-of-pocket expenses and potential legal liabilities.
  3. Don’t skip discussing with your insurance agent: It’s crucial to discuss your business use with your insurance agent, as they can help you determine if you need commercial auto insurance or if there’s an option to add a business-use endorsement to your personal policy.

Real estate professionals in Oregon need a comprehensive insurance plan that includes Errors and Omissions (E&O), General Liability, and potentially Commercial Auto insurance, depending on the nature of their work. By understanding the differences between personal and commercial auto insurance, and the limitations of personal auto insurance for business use, realtors can ensure they are adequately protected.

To secure the right coverage for your real estate business, consult with an independent insurance agent who can help you navigate the complexities of the insurance market and tailor a policy that meets your specific needs.