Contingent Liability Insurance in Real Estate: Safeguarding Assets

In the dynamic world of real estate, unforeseen challenges can arise, making it crucial to have a safety net in place. Enter contingent liability insurance – a vital shield for safeguarding your valuable assets whether you’re a property owner, investor, or involved in real estate transactions. The uncertainties that accompany this industry make having this insurance a prudent choice. This specialized coverage steps in when unexpected liabilities surface, offering a layer of protection that goes beyond conventional policies. Let’s delve into contingent liability insurance and explore how it becomes an indispensable ally in real estate. Ensuring peace of mind amid the ever-evolving landscape.

What are some examples of contingent liability?

Contingent liability is a frequent consideration in the realm of real estate. Its relevance surfaces in various scenarios, some of which include:

  • Consider a scenario where a contractor’s oversight leads to property damage during renovations. In such instances, the real estate firm or owner could bear liability, giving rise to the concept of “vicarious liability” – holding individuals responsible for the actions of others.
  •  Another facet of contingent liability stems from potential errors made by employees. This is why contingent liability insurance often finds a place within Errors and Omissions policies, providing a safety net for unforeseen missteps.
  •  Furthermore, real estate professionals, firms, and investors frequently contend with the contingency of lawsuit damages. On average, businesses in the United States allocate over $1 million annually to navigate the challenges of litigation damages and associated legal fees. Real estate enterprises are no exception to this financial responsibility.

(Note: “contingent liability” is a term within real estate contracts denoting a condition that must be fulfilled for contractual terms to proceed. This specific aspect is not the focus of the current discussion.)

Types of contingent liabilities and reporting requirements

The International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation (IFRS) provides specific guidelines for the accounting treatment of contingent liabilities. Likewise, under generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). Companies must disclose contingent liabilities based on three standards: full disclosure, prudence, and materiality. Each category of contingent liability entails distinct record-keeping requirements, with classifications falling into probable, possible, and remote.

When contingent liabilities are deemed probable, indicating a likelihood of 50% or higher. A real estate firm, for example, may face a lawsuit for negligence. Following consultation with legal advisors and a thorough case review, if the firm anticipates a strong likelihood of losing the lawsuit, it categorizes the contingent liability as probable. Consequently, the firm sets aside estimated damages from the lawsuit. Reflecting them on the balance sheet as a liability and expense in profit and loss reports.

On the other hand, there are possible contingent liabilities, with a chance of 50% or lower. Involve scenarios where legal counsel cannot definitively assess the strength of the plaintiff’s case. In such situations, where uncertainty prevails, the contingent liability is categorised as possible. Here, the requirement is to disclose the liability as a footnote in the financial statements.

Remote liabilities, characterised by a minimal chance of occurrence, can be exemplified by frivolous lawsuits. In these cases, firms are not obligated to record the liability or allocate funds on the balance sheet. It is essential to seek legal counsel before taking any actions related to each category of contingent liability.

How does contingent liability insurance work?

Contingent liability insurance may manifest across various policies, adopting different names. Still, it’s crucial to ensure that your company secures the right coverage tailored to the unique challenges of the real estate industry.

Within a general liability policy, contingent liability is often termed indirect and can encompass coverage for bodily injury, property damage, and personal injury. E&O or professional liability insurance may incorporate a contingent liability clause. Specifically addressing errors or negligence by contractors, agents, and employees.

This insurance safeguards against anticipated losses, encompassing damages from lawsuits and other contingencies. Furthermore, The McGowan Program Administrators (MPA) Real Estate Umbrella Program provides comprehensive coverage for various property types, including commercial, industrial, and residential, with a specific inclusion of contingent liability. Moreover, MPA’s seasoned brokers excel at tailoring policies to meet your company’s needs, ensuring a customized and effective risk management approach.


In conclusion, as we navigate the complex terrain of real estate, the significance of contingent liability insurance becomes abundantly clear. This specialised coverage, designed to shield against unforeseen risks, is a crucial safeguard for preserving assets, from mitigating the impact of contractor errors to addressing the potential fallout of employee mistakes. Contingent liability insurance acts as a robust defence mechanism. With categories such as probable, possible, and remote liabilities, it provides a tailored approach to handling diverse challenges.

Ensuring your real estate enterprise is equipped with the appropriate coverage is imperative. Under the umbrella of this insurance, whether labeled as an indirect liability in general liability policies or as a contingent liability clause in E&O insurance. Businesses gain comprehensive protection with its nuanced inclusion of contingent liability. The McGowan Program Administrator’s (MPA) Real Estate Umbrella Program emerges as a valuable resource. In real estate, where uncertainties abound, relying on experienced brokers from MPA ensures a tailored policy that precisely aligns with your company’s unique needs.

In essence, embracing contingent liability insurance is not merely a precaution. It represents a strategic investment in the resilience of your real estate assets. Moreover, as the industry evolves, this insurance provides a reassuring layer of defense, fostering stability and confidence when confronting potential challenges.


What is Contingent Liability Insurance in Real Estate?

Contingent Liability Insurance, designed to protect against unexpected risks and preserve valuable assets, is a specialized coverage in real estate.

How does Contingent Liability Insurance Safeguard Assets?

This insurance provides a robust defence by covering potential liabilities such as contractor errors or employee mistakes, ensuring it shields assets from unforeseen challenges.

Under Contingent Liability Insurance, does it cover what types of liabilities?

Contingent Liability Insurance addresses various liabilities, including probable, possible, and remote scenarios, offering a tailored approach to handle different challenges.

Why do we recommend McGowan Program Administrator’s Real Estate Umbrella Program?

The McGowan Program Administrators Real Estate Umbrella Program, including contingent liability, provides comprehensive coverage. Their experienced brokers tailor policies to meet the unique needs of real estate enterprises. Offering stability and confidence in an evolving ind

Leave a Comment