A specialty contractor insurance policy is an easy way to cover multiple risks without having to settle for a one-size-fits-all policy that wastes money on coverage you don’t want or need.
How can contractor insurance protect you?
Use the yellow hot spots and explore how contractor insurance can help protect against common risks.
Commercial General Liability Coverage
As a contractor, your business may be susceptible to many risks, such as claims due to bodily injury, property damage, personal injury and more. And, if you hire other contractors to perform work on your behalf, you can be held responsible for any damage they cause on the job.
Commercial general liability insurance is an absolute necessity for every contractor. This type of protection provides broad coverage for premises, operations, products and claims to third parties or property when you are deemed responsible and liable. It will also pay to defend any covered lawsuit or action regardless of its merit.
Commercial Property Coverage
When a fire, theft or another type of disaster strikes, your commercial property and everything within it can suffer a significant loss. This can have a detrimental effect on your business.
Commercial property insurance can help protect the property your business owns and leases, including things like equipment, inventory, furniture and fixtures. Whether you own your building or lease your workspace, commercial property insurance can be purchased separately or can be combined with other necessary coverage to protect your business’ physical assets.
Contractors' Equipment Coverage
You’re constantly moving your tools from one job site to another, exposing your contractor business to potential loss due to damage or theft. And without your specialized tools and equipment, your job site may come to a screeching halt.
As a contractor, you need contractors' equipment insurance - a policy specially designed to protect your tools and equipment on the move. The policy will cover equipment for a variety of losses, including fire, explosion, vandalism, theft, collision with other equipment or objects and overturning. Unlike standard commercial property insurance policies, contractors' equipment insurance often covers losses caused by floods and earthquakes.
Builders Risk and Installation Insurance
A building under construction is not covered under a standard building insurance policy or a home insurance policy since it is not a complete structure. As a contractor, you may be responsible for unique loss exposures related to buildings under construction such as the theft of building materials and high valued equipment such as generators and compressors.
Builders risk and installation insurance provides coverage for homes or buildings while undergoing construction, until they are completed. The policy covers the contractors’ interest in materials at the job site before they are installed, construction materials in transit designated for the renovation, remodel or construction and the value of the property being constructed until it is completed.
Workers’ Compensation and Employers Liability Coverage
If one of your employees receives an injury or becomes ill due to a work-related occurrence, you are required by law to have the proper coverage in place.
Workers’ compensation and employers liability insurance protects your employees should a job-related injury or sickness occur during the course of employment. Since benefits vary by state law, make sure your insurance agent is aware of all physical locations your business operates in and all physical locations where you hire your employees.
Business Auto Insurance
As a contractor, you have many exposures associated with your business vehicles – owned or leased. With a fleet of cars, trucks, vans or other types of vehicles used in the course of business, a single accident can potentially put your contractor business in financial jeopardy.
Business auto insurance provides coverage for vehicles owned or leased by a contractor and provides coverage for bodily injury, property damage and other exposures, and could include comprehensive and collision coverage as well.
Hold Harmless / Additional Insureds
If you are performing as a contractor on a construction project where other contractors and vendors are involved, you could be held liable for any damages or injuries caused by the other contractors or vendors, leaving you with costly legal fees and settlement costs. Your business needs to be protected against the risk of some other company, vendor or subcontractor causing damage to people or property of your mutual customer.
Consider having a contract in place with each entity that includes a hold harmless agreement in your favor. A hold harmless agreement provides that the entity will hold you harmless for any injuries or damage caused by their negligence. In addition, the contract should require that the entity list you as an additional insured on their policy. This may provide you with coverage under their policy for injuries or damage they cause if you are named in a lawsuit.
Commercial Umbrella / Excess Insurance
Losses and lawsuits are quite common in the construction business, and settlements can be substantial. If your business is found to be responsible for damage or injury on the job site, you could be facing a large liability loss that exceeds the basic limits of your standard policy.
You should consider purchasing a commercial umbrella insurance policy which provides higher limits, typically between $2,000,000 and $10,000,000, and often broadened coverages. Coverage is extended over your general liability insurance, workers’ compensation, business auto and directors and officers liability insurance. It provides a great safety net and helps ensure your contractor business is well protected.
A good policy includes general liability that covers you against claims of damage or injury caused on site or to visitors on your own premises. Such costs can be immense and general liability insurance is often mandatory if you want to bid for government contracts.
You should also make sure that you protect your stock, machinery and equipment against damage or loss from fire, theft, flooding and other risks, both on- and off-site. Just as importantly, you need to have insurance coverage against loss of income if you are unable to carry out work because your equipment is damaged.
Remember also to get workers’ compensation insurance, which is usually mandatory and protects employees against lost income and medical bills resulting from workplace injuries. You might be worried that the costs of a workers’ compensation policy will be high given the inherent risks of construction work, but many insurers will offer discounts if you follow safety programs.
If you need any help choosing the right contractor insurance policy, contact us today.