Homeowners – Before That Contractor Starts Work, Get The Insurance Certificate

At Clinard Insurance Group in Winston Salem, NC , we make it a top priority to help our friends and clients with information that helps them protect their assets.  One mistake many homeowners make is to let a contractor begin work at their home without first checking to be sure that this contractor has the right insurance protection for his or her business.  There is a quick and easy way to do this and this practice is standard in most business to business (B2B) type transactions. 


Before you let that plumber or landscaper or any type of repair worker begin a job at your home, you should first determine that they have insurance protection so that if someone is injured, or your property is damaged, you don’t have to file anything under your homeowners insurance policy.  Simply ask them to have a certificate of insurance sent to you.  This is a simple task, all the contractor will have to do is ask his insurance agent to email, fax or mail you a copy of this certificate.


Once you receive the certificate of insurance, what then?  Well, there are a couple of things you want to look at closely.  First of all, make sure that your name and address is .listed in the certificate holder section.  And make sure that the certificate came from the contractor’s insurance agent and not from the contractor himself.  This will increase the odds for you that the certificate is genuine and that the listed insurance coverage is actually in force.  Believe it or not, there is an active market selling fake insurance certificates, I have even seen them for sale on ebay.


 These certificates break down the insurance protection by policy type, so there will be a section for General Liability Insurance, Workers Compensation Insurance, Business Auto Insurance and Umbrella Insurance.  Next you want to check and be sure that there is a policy number showing in the General Liability Insurance Section and in the section for Workers Compensation Insurance.  These are the policy types that will be most important to homeowners..


Once you have verified that your contractor has these two types of policies in place, take a quick look at the limits of coverage.  A North Carolina workers compensation policy will pay claims based on the statutory regulations so you won’t really need to worry about the limits there.  But in the general liability insurance section, you want to be sure that the amount of coverage showing is high enough to satisfy you.  Think about the worst case scenario of damage that this contractor could do to you, your family or your property and make sure there is enough of a limit there to pay for that loss.


Many homeowners just hire contractors to work in their home without giving insurance any thought at all.  But some contractors cut corners and may not have enough insurance or any insurance at all.  If they cause you a large loss to your health or your property, you may find yourself with no recourse. At Clinard Insurance Group in Winston Salem, NC, we want all of our homeowner clients to be safe from an un-insured contractor.  If you have a certificate of insurance and are not sure how to read it, please contact us by calling, toll free 877-687-7557 or visit us on the web at and we will help you understand exactly what the certificate your contractor gave you covers.