Now that the Summer of 2012 is behind us, many of us are looking at those Fall projects to repair Summer damage or prepare our homes for Winter. The following list is not a guarantee that your project will go smoothly, but at least if you accomplish those items listed, you will avoid some possible major problems.
As you initiate those Fall projects, you may decide to hire a contractor or even a friend to assist in the work. There are certain things that you should do before hiring anyone, including a check on their license, placement of proper permits, and a check of references. Look at current job sites to see their housekeeping. This is probably how they will treat your home.
After doing your background checks of perspective contractors, be sure you have the proper insurance coverage in place. Here are a few crucial items that should be included in your agreement.
- Require anyone working at or around your home to provide you with a current Certificate of Insurance.
- Make sure all coverages listed will be in effect throughout the period that the contractor will be working at your home.
- Make sure the Certificate of Insurance lists you as the Certificate Holder. This assures that you will be notified if any policy on the Certificate is cancelled. It is also a good idea to have yourself listed as an Additional insured on their policy.
- Make sure the Certificate of insurance has the following coverages:
1) General Liability Covergae, including Operations, Completed Operations and products Coverage. This assures that the contractor has coverage in the event he damages your home or injures someone while working at your home.
2) Business Auto. This assures that the contractor's vehicles have Liability Insurance while at or traveling around your home.
3) Workers Compensation. This may be the most important coverage to you. This assures you that if an employee of the contractor is injured on the job that there is coverage for those injuries. Otherwise it is very possible that you could be brought into the claim and be held financially responsible for the injury.
There is an effective and very reasonable way to protect yourself from an injury to a worker at your residence. It is called Contingent Workers Compensation Coverage, and it is available on Homeowners policies. The annual cost of this endorsement is less than $ 10.00 annually. The endorsement allows you to purchase a Workers Compensation policy from your Homeowners carrier in the event a worker is injured on your premises. This is unique in that it is insurance you can purchase after the loss, but only if you have the endorsement first.
Contact you insurance agent before any work is initiated on your home to be sure ou have the proper coverages in place for your project. Your improvement project may actually earn you a discount, such as a new roof discount. A major improvement may also affect the reconstruction cost of your home and put you in an underinsured position. Homeowners policies typically have requirements regarding notince to the insurance carrier for improvements that affect the reconstruction cost of your residence. Your insurance agent is a valuable resource to keep you properly protected.