Check for Contractors’ Insurance
Before your camp hires a contractor to perform electrical and plumbing work, roofing, cleaning, or other maintenance jobs, do your homework. Of course, you need to check the contractor’s references and conduct a thorough interview to ensure they have the experience to perform the job correctly. But you also should make sure your contractor carries workers’ compensation insurance. Many of the camps Church Mutual works with do not realize they absorb a financial risk if a contractor who does not have workers’ compensation insurance becomes injured on the job.
Your financial risk
There are several ways you could wind up paying for the fact you didn’t thoroughly vet your contractor:
- An additional claim could cause your insurance company to increase your premium the next time you renew your coverage.
- Your insurer might add a construction charge to your policy in the middle of the year because your original policy did not factor in the cost of covering independent contractors.
- Your contractor could try to commit fraud by claiming a worker was injured at your camp, when they were really injured somewhere else that didn’t have adequate insurance.
How to cover yourself
Whenever you hire a contractor, always ask for a certificate of insurance before any work takes place. Insurance companies will always provide such certificates when asked. When you receive the certificate:
- Check to ensure your project falls within the insurance policy period.
- Verify that the contractor carries workers’ compensation, general liability and umbrella policies.
- Check that the name listed on the policy is the correct name of the contractor you are hiring. If you are using a company, the policy should not just be under the owner’s name.
- Make sure the insurance limits are adequate to cover any possible mishaps during your project. Church Mutual recommends a $1 million liability policy and a $1 million umbrella policy.
Remember, if a contractor offers a particularly inexpensive bid for a project, there is a good chance they do not have insurance. Often, it is difficult for high-quality contractors with insurance to compete in a bidding war.
Also, do not be afraid to ask your contractor if they hire subcontractors. It is possible that the contractor carries insurance, but the subcontractor does not, which could also put you at risk.
For more information about protecting your camp, visit churchmutual.com.