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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.
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.
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.
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 contractors' equipment insurance–a policy specially and the value of the property being constructed until it is completed.
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 protects your employees should a job-related injury or sickness occur during the course of employment. This coverage is required by law and may vary by area, so be sure that you understand your obligations for all physical locations where your business operates in and all physical locations where you hire your employees.
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.
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.
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 various policies, including general liability insurance, business auto, and directors and officers liability insurance.
Contractor Insurance 101
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