Imagine you need to hire a contractor to add a room onto your home. You choose a seemingly reputable company with two employees, but one of them accidentally falls from a ladder while working on your property. The employee sustains serious injuries and is unable to work for the rest of his life. Are you responsible for this injury, or will the contractor’s insurance cover the cost of the employees’ medical treatment, lost wages and other expenses.
Who Is Liable for Injuries?
Most homeowners assume that they won’t be held responsible for any injuries a contractor or the contractor’s employees sustain while working on their property. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Although many states have laws that require certain types of businesses to carry insurance coverage, these laws don’t always apply to independent contractors. If your contractor isn’t bound by these laws and decides not to purchase optional coverage, you may find yourself liable for injuries and/or disability that occurs on your property. Depending on the extent of the individual’s injuries and your insurance coverage at the time of the accident, this can be very expensive.
To protect yourself from a situation like this, you need to make sure that any contractor you hire has the insurance coverage necessary to take care of any injuries or other incidents that may occur in the course of their work.
Evaluating a Contractor’s Insurance Coverage
Different contractors may need different types of insurance coverage, depending on the specifics of their work. Some of the different types of coverage a contractor may need to carry include commercial auto insurance, commercial general liability insurance, builders’ risk insurance and workers’ compensation insurance. In some cases, insurance coverage may even be required by law. For example, in the state of Minnesota, all employers are required to carry workers’ compensation insurance on their employees, regardless of how many employees they have. This law applies even when employees are non-citizens or minors.
Finding a Safe, Reputable Contractor for Your Project
Because of the high stakes involved, finding the right contractor for your home improvement project is essential. However, with so many different contractors to choose from, the process can seem overwhelming. To find a good contractor:
- Talk to friends and family – Ask your friends or family members to recommend contractors they believe will provide good quality services.
- Look on the internet – Another excellent tool at your disposal as you look for a reputable contractor is the internet. Read online reviews of different contractors in your area to determine which ones have a reputation of providing good results and superior customer service.
- Ask for a Certificate of Insurance – To make sure that the contractor you choose carries enough insurance to protect you from liability, ask to see a Certificate of Insurance before you complete the hiring process. Make sure this certificate is valid and current.
Perhaps the best way to make sure you have chosen the right contractor for your home improvement project is to consult a qualified insurance agent. Your agent will help you verify the contractor’s coverage and make sure your new project is reflected by your homeowner’s insurance policy. Please contact Andreotti Agency today to get started.