If you’re a contractor, more than likely you have dealt with obtaining certificates of insurance (COI). The COI verifies the existence of insurance at a given moment in time. It will list the producer (agent or broker), name of the insured, insurance company, types of insurance, policy effective dates, limits of insurance and certificate holder (person requesting it).
If you hire a subcontractor to work on your jobs, it is best practice to require COIs. If they are uninsured, YOU may be on the hook for property damage or bodily injury that they may cause…even injuries to the sub’s employees! You can reduce this risk by obtaining a COI at the beginning of a project.
Many contractors require all subcontractors submit a COI prior to starting work. If COI is submitted, no work is started until the sub complies with the requirement. It’s also a good idea to require an updated COI at the end of a job to ensure that the subcontractor is insured through the length of the job. There are those “shady” subs that get insurance just to get a COI submitted and then they let the policy lapse right after. Withholding payment for the job without an updated COI is one way to ensure compliance.
Contact the producer or insurance company that’s listed on a subcontractor’s certificate of insurance to verify coverage if you don’t understand the information or doubt its authenticity. Feel free to direct questions or concerns to your own insurance agent. They deal with them every day!