General Contractor Liability Insurance
General contractor liability insurance is a necessity for working safely and legally in your trade. Whether you're a home builder, a house painter, a carpenter, a plumber or a street repairman, you are at risk for lawsuits if a member of the public is injured on your work site. You may also be held responsible for injuries due to projects that you completed, depending on the laws in your state.
In some states, a contractor requires general contractor liability insurance to perform a job. You may need proof of insurance in some cases just to bid on a job. Having general contractor liability insurance is essential not just for the protection of your own financial assets, but for the public's safety. Accidents involving construction projects may cause serious injuries to bystanders, customers or visitors to the site. Your policy protects you against the costs of litigation and pays legal damages for bodily injuries or property losses.
Who Needs Contractor Liability Insurance?
A person who completes jobs under contract, or a contractor, takes risks during the course of completing a project. No matter what type of trade you're involved in, you expose members of the public to potential injuries or damage to their personal belongings during the course of the job. Even if you're careful about securing your job site and following all the general safety procedures, you may inadvertently cause a bystander to trip and fall, or injure a pedestrian with falling debris.
Whether you work by yourself or employ other tradesmen, you need general contractor liability insurance to prevent serious financial losses if you're determined to be at fault in an accident. In an explosion, fire or other occurrence that causes widespread damage to property and bodily injuries, you could be faced with significant damages. To protect the small business you've worked so hard to develop, invest in general commercial liability coverage that offers adequate protection against lawsuits.
If you employ sub-contractors, your general contractor liability insurance policy may require that each of your employees has a separate policy. Alternatively, you may be required to cover all of your employees under your own general liability policy. As a general contractor, you have a number of options available when you choose liability insurance coverage. It pays to take the time to investigate your options and compare quotes on commercial policies before you sign a contract with an insurance carrier.
Who Provides Contractor Liability Insurance?
Insurance companies that specialize in protecting businesses, professionals and other commercial enterprises provide general contractor liability policies. You can find a provider in the phone book, or by asking friends or family members for referrals, but you may not find a company that specializes in insuring contractors like you. Looking for general liability coverage online gives you quick, convenient access to a number of carriers that have experience in matching contractors with the policies that they need.
The provider that you choose should understand the needs of general contractors. Your coverage requirements are different from the policies that architects, veterinarians, counselors and other professionals require. Because you're in the business of building, repairing or improving structures or facilities, your risks of causing physical injuries are much greater. The terms of your contract and the limits of your coverage should reflect the risks you take on a daily basis.
In some states, general contractor liability insurance is a legal requirement. Whether or not your state mandates general contractor liability insurance, you almost always need a certificate proving that you're covered before you start a job. A carrier that specializes in insuring contractors understands that your coverage is an essential part of your livelihood. Without adequate protection against lawsuits, you could be held responsible for damages that could bankrupt your business.
To get the most affordable rates, contact several brokers or carriers to ask about the policies they provide. When you evaluate quotes, compare the amount of coverage provided in the policy, any excluded liabilities and the discounts applied by the carrier. If you have a solid history of safety on the job and you've filed few claims in your career, you may be eligible for lower rates. Your rates may be higher if you have a large crew that needs to be covered under your plan.
In addition to searching for low rates, look for a carrier that has a record of processing claims smoothly and providing excellent customer service. Finding an affordable policy is only the beginning of securing your assets. If an accident or injury occurs at one of your sites, your general contractor liability insurance provider will be your main resource for resolving the issue quickly and effectively. Your adjusters and representatives should be committed to getting you through an incident without compromising your financial future.