When hiring a contractor to do work on your house, there are many details to discuss before any work is begun. One detail that some homeowners overlook is insurance. Before agreeing to have any contractor do work on your Waterbury, Vermont home, ask to see proof of their contractors insurance. Here’s why you should ask and what you should look for.
Ask Contractors for Proof That They Have Contractors Insurance Before Hiring Them to Work on Your Home
Contractors Should Insure Themselves Against the Risks They Face
The nature of contractors’ work exposes them to a number of potential risks. Depending on the job they’re doing, a contractor might fall, puncture themselves with a nail, drop heavy supplies on their foot, or suffer any number of other injuries.
Most contractors insure themselves against these potential accidents by purchasing contractors insurance (or contractor insurance). If they’re injured under a covered accident, their insurance policy will normally cover the cost of medical care, and it may reimburse them for any wages they lose because they can’t work.
When contractors are properly insured, homeowners generally aren’t held responsible for contractors’ injuries. After all, there’s usually little reason to hold homeowners responsible because contractors are compensated from their own insurance policy.
Hiring an Uninsured Contractor Exposes You to Risk
If you hire an uninsured contractor, however, you may be held financially responsible for injuries they sustain while doing work on your Waterbury, VT home. Since they don’t have protection, they might blame you for the incident and seek financial compensation from you. If a contractor suffers a serious injury, their medical costs and lost wages could be tens of thousands of dollars.
In some cases, your homeowners insurance policy’s general liability coverage might provide protection against such claims. Some policies, however, may exclude these kinds of claims. If your policy has such an exclusion, you’d likely be personally responsible for any legal costs and settlements associated with a suit. Even if your homeowners policy does provide coverage, filing a claim against it could cause your future premiums to go up.
Ask to See Proof of Contractors Insurance
You can easily avoid this risk by asking for proof that contractors have contractor insurance, and only hiring ones who can provide proof. For a homeowner who doesn’t frequently hire Vermont contractors, requesting proof of insurance may seem odd or, possibly, even offensive. It’s a perfectly normal question, and reputable contractors won’t take offense at the request.
There are two forms of proof that contractors may furnish to show that they have contractor insurance. They might provide a “certification of insurance” or a copy of their actual policy. Some may even offer both. Either is fine, just make sure to check the dates and the name on the documents. A few unscrupulous contractors might try to furnish documents that have expired or technically insure another business. (This is uncommon, especially if you’re hiring a highly recommended contractor. Nevertheless, it’s something you should check for.)
If you have any questions about contractors, contractors insurance, and how it can affect you, feel free to contact your independent insurance agent serving Waterbury, VT. Your agent should be able to answer any questions you have about how to protect yourself when hiring contractors.
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