The short answer is “that depends on where you’re doing business and what level of ‘risk’ you’re comfortable with.”
If you’re in Canada, you’re in a much less litigious environment than the US. In Canada, it’s very hard to sue people, so you might need less insurance coverage than you would in the United States.
However, regardless of where you are doing business, it is wise to talk to local experts about what coverage you might need. I’m not in the insurance business so it would be irresponsible for me to tell you what to do one way or the other.
You need to look at what your potential risks are, what you want to cover yourself for, and what you feel comfortable with, given that all coverage comes at a cost.
You may be able to amend your homeowner’s policy to cover yourself for a lot of things, or you may need to get a separate business insurance policy. Only you can determine that, after speaking with local insurance agents.
There are also insurance policies specifically designed for home stagers.
One of the things to look at, especially if you have inventory that you’ll be renting out to clients, is how long those furnishings will be covered when they aren’t on your own premises.
(By the way, I cover the pros and cons of owning your own home staging inventory in course 2 of the Staging Diva Program, called The Business of Home Staging: What you Need to Start and How to Grow.)
Typically, I find home stagers worry about being insured for things like breaking someone’s vase or scratching a floor. My feeling is that it’s not really necessary, because if you broke a vase, are you going to call your insurance agent and tell them you want to make a claim? Of course not. The only things you would make claims for are really catastrophic things, not the small things. The small things you’re going to replace or repair.
To give you an example, I just had my roof and five skylights replaced. The roofers scratched my hardwood floor, punched a hole in the siding of my house and damaged a decorative screen I had in the backyard. All of these were fixed at their expense, no insurance claims were involved. Nothing looks the same as it did before they were here and it was all a big inconvenience to me, but they did their best to fix things and that’s about all I can expect.
When you hire a mover, they may scratch a floor or ding a wall or break something. But they don’t put a whole new hardwood floor in—they fix the damage so it’s no longer noticeable. Nothing ever goes back to how it was in the beginning.
It’s the same with home staging.
The kinds of things that would typically happen are things you will be able to have fixed and you wouldn’t probably make an insurance claim for.
A key part of protecting yourself is using common sense. For example, don’t leave lit candles in a home, don’t position breakables within reach of toddlers, and don’t keep the homeowner’s house keys for any length of time.