A Guide to Territorial and Jurisdiction Limits

Most insurance policies will specify territorial and jurisdiction limits. Essentially, these clauses specify where in the world you have cover, and where you do not.

It’s important to check the limits to any insurance policy to ensure that it gives you the cover you need. This is particularly important if you travel as part of your job.

Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to insurance. Cover will vary from product to product, and from insurer to insurer.

So when taking out insurance, you need to be as specific as you can about the cover you need, and where you’ll need it. Your insurer will then tailor a policy that meets your specific needs.

Most insurance policies will specify territorial and jurisdiction limits

What are Territorial Limits?

Territorial limits specify where the policy will provide cover, and where it won’t.

Different types of insurance policies will specify different territorial limits. In many cases, a policy will only cover you for local claims. So if you take out a policy in the UK, it may only cover you for claims you make in the UK.

However, even policies with strictly UK territorial limits can cover you certain types of travelling. As a general rule of thumb, you should have full cover for any claims you make in the UK. But if you need to do any work abroad, you’ll probably need specialist cover.

For example, public liability insurance can cover you for any work you do on someone else’s premises. But if you ever need to travel overseas for a job, you’ll most likely need to get additional cover, with less restrictive territorial limits.

Similarly, office contents insurance can cover you for loss or damage to any laptops, smartphones, tablets or other equipment you take off the premises – but only if you stay in the UK. If you want to insure your work equipment for an overseas trip, you may have to take out specialist travel insurance.

Employer’s liability insurance can cover you for any claims involving accidents in your workplace. Your policy may also provide cover for any employees who have to travel as part of their work. Yet once more, the cover will most likely only extend to UK travel. You’ll need specialist cover for any employees who travel overseas as part of their work.

For these sorts of policies, some insurers specify UK and EU territorial limits. This means that they’ll cover you across most of Europe. Though if you need to travel to, or work in a non-EU country, you’ll have to get additional cover.

But again, no two insurance products are ever quite the same, and different insurers will have different rules. So check your policy wording to ensure your insurance is giving you all the cover you need. And if it’s not, talk to your insurer about tailoring your policy to suit you.

International Cover

Some insurance products can provide international cover as standard.

For example, take out a professional indemnity insurance policy and you can usually choose two types of territorial limits:

  • UK only
  • Worldwide excepting the USA and Canada

Unfortunately, almost all professional indemnity insurance policies place territorial limits on the USA and Canada. This means you won’t be covered for any work you undertake in these countries. Why? Simply because negligence claims in these territories tend to be substantial. As a result, they cost a lot to defend, so they’d require more cover than a standard professional indemnity insurance policy could provide.

If you need professional indemnity insurance cover for work you plan on undertaking in the USA or Canada, you’ll have to find a specialist provider that’s willing to cover for potentially substantial claims. This might involve getting cover from an insurer that’s actually based in these territories.

Similarly, cyber breach response insurance policies often provide international cover, as cyber criminals don’t tend to recognise borders. But while cyber insurance can cover you for cyber attacks originating from overseas, there may still be limits when it comes to where you can make a claim. Just like with professional indemnity insurance, some policies might place territorial limits on the USA and Canada. However, some insurers will let you add cover for the USA and Canada to your policy.

Once more: no two insurance products are ever quite the same, and different insurers will have different rules. So check your policy wording to ensure your insurance is giving you all the cover you need.

What are Jurisdiction Limits?

Jurisdiction limits indicate the countries and territories where the policy will accept and cover for any formal legal action that’s taken against you. With jurisdiction limits, you can avoid disputes over where claims should be handled, and you can avoid having to defend yourself in multiple countries at once.

Jurisdiction limits on a policy are usually the same as territorial limits. So in most cases, if you take out a policy in the UK, the policy will only recognise UK jurisdiction. But where international cover if available, it usually doesn’t extend to the USA and Canada.

If you’re doing any work for overseas clients, then you’ll need a worldwide jurisdiction limit for your policy. If you only have a UK jurisdiction limit, and you’re doing some work for a client in Germany, for example, you won’t be covered for any legal action they might take against you.

And once more, if you’re doing work for clients in the USA or Canada, you’ll have to find specialist cover. You’ll either have to find an insurer who’s willing to cover for potentially substantial claims, or you’ll have to find an insurer who’s based in these territories.

Specialist Insurance for Self-Employed Freelancers and Contractors

Territorial limits and jurisdiction limits can be confusing. So to make things easier, bear in mind the following:

  • If you only ever work in the UK, or with UK-based clients – Then you’ll probably never have to worry about jurisdiction or territorial limits. Most insurance products will give you all the cover you need, off-the-shelf.
  • If you ever work overseas, or with overseas clients – Then you’ll have to be upfront with your insurer about the type of cover you need. They can tailor a policy to give you cover for any work you do with overseas clients, or for any travelling you need to do as part of your work. Though as most territorial and jurisdictional limits exclude the USA and Canada, you might have to look elsewhere to get cover for any work you do in these territories.

In any case, it’s best to check your policy wording to ensure you’re getting all the cover you need. And if you’re not, talk to your insurer about additional cover.

We offer specialist insurance policies for freelancers and contractors. We’ll tailor your policy to suit your exact needs, and we can cover you for as little as 35p a day.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss your options please contact the Tapoly team at info@tapoly.com. You can also call our help line on +44(0)207 846 0108, or try our chat on our website.

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