As a contractor, you need to be fully aware of what your liabilities are to ensure that you have the right insurance for each project. The liabilities you face will vary depending on your line of work. You know that you must have coverage for job-site injuries and any property damages to the location of where you are working. However, your responsibilities extend beyond the work area and your employees or sub-contractors.
Commercial Automobile Insurance
You know you must have liability insurance for any of your commercial vehicles. Commercial auto insurance covers you and your employees while business vehicles are being used. If your employees run errands using their own automobiles during business hours, you can be held liable for accidents and injuries. Make sure that you have coverage for non-owned vehicles to protect yourself from damage and injury claims.
Third Party and Adjoining Property Coverage
Contractors are also liable for damages that can occur to adjoining and near-by properties. If your heavy equipment causes damage to adjoining parking lots, roadways or sidewalks, you will be held responsible. You also have a public liability. While you may take extensive efforts to protect the public and restrict access to a work site, injuries may still occur.
Even if unauthorized access occurs, you may be held liable. Debris from a site can injure someone that is not on the property. Go over your liability insurance with your agent to determine where you may have gaps in your coverage.
Liability for a project does not end when the work is completed. Are you covered for injury or property damage that occurs from a fault in your work six months after the job is finished? The manufacturer should cover products you installed but your liability extends beyond this.
There may also be state requirements for your insurance coverage. For example, a Class A HVAC contractor in Texas must have $300,000 in insurance for completed projects and products. A Class B contractor must have $100,000.
Excess Liability and Umbrella Insurance
Policies are available that provide your business with extra protection. Claims can exceed the limits of your general liability policy. An excess liability policy will pay covered claims that exceed your general coverage. Umbrella policies can also be purchased to include extended automobile liability and employer’s liability protection.
Your general liability insurance protects you from general claims regarding property damage and bodily or personal injury. Make sure that you and your business are covered completely. By consulting with a knowledgeable professional, you can avoid financial loss from a lack of adequate coverage.