California Plumbing Insurance Policy Information
California Plumbing Insurance. Plumbing is a messy profession, but it becomes messier still if you are working as a plumber and find yourself on the receiving end of a liability claim. For this reason, all plumbers, including small, sole proprietors working independently, need plumbing insurance. If you are a plumber, septic installer, pipe fitter or even a general contractor who works with other professionals to provide plumbing services, you are putting yourself, your business, and your assets at risk when you work uninsured.
Plumbing contractors install, service, repair, and replace piping and fixtures that connect to water mains or wells, gas utilities, sewers, appliances, sprinklers, and irrigation systems. Plumbers may offer services to the general public, or specialize in residential or commercial work, new construction or remodeling.
Plumbing operations involve cutting metal or plastic (PVC) piping to length and assembling it by means of threaded couplings, adhesives, or by soldering, brazing or welding. Some plumbing contractors provide retail sales of hardware and appliances, and offer remodeling services for kitchen and bathrooms. The contractor may offer 24 hour emergency service.
Life is uncertain, and things happen. You are putting yourself at risk for claims for damage you cause, equipment or vehicle damage, or injury to yourself and clients, among other risks. This is why you should have California plumbing insurance.
California plumbing insurance protects your business from lawsuits with rates as low as $37/mo. Get a fast quote and your certificate of insurance now.
Some states require specific types of insurance for contractors conducting business within their borders. This is oftentimes a condition of doing business, so check to see what licensure involves and if you are required to have particular types of insurance in order to perform your work as a plumber.
If you work as a general contractor, then you may need to purchase California plumbing insurance insurance before you can work with or hire plumbers to work under you.
Sometimes property owners also require that contractors, including plumbers, show that they have insurance in force before they will hire you for a contract or job.
BOP Policies for Plumbers
There are several structures for plumbing businesses when it comes to California plumbing insurance. The one that your business chooses should be based on the size of the business, the risks you face, and the amount of coverage you desire. A basic California plumbing insurance policy for plumbers typically combines multiple coverage types in one, and is known as a business owner's policy, or BOP. BOP plans usually include:
- Coverage for general liability. This handles claims for damages and injuries that result from mistakes or accidents while you or your employees perform plumbing services.
- Coverage for property. This covers damage to your tools or equipment.
- Coverage for income loss. This insurance kicks in and pays if your business experiences a work stoppage, so you can stay in business and keep moving forward.
Other Coverage Types For Plumbers To Consider
These are not the only types of coverage that you need. You should also look for more extensive, broader coverage to completely ensure that you're protected from financial ruin. For instance, you might want to add:
- Commercial auto insurance. This is a type of insurance that works much like a personal auto insurance policy, but it's specially designed for commercial purposes. If you use one or more cars, trucks, vans or other vehicles in the course of business, this policy is essential. Personal auto insurance typically does not cover damages and losses incurred while you or someone else is acting in a business capacity.
- Worker's compensation insurance. This is a vital type of coverage for employees, since it pays for work-related medical costs due to injury or illness caused by the job. CA requires that it is purchased by employers for all employees - but owners can be excluded.
- Liability insurance. An extended liability policy sometimes called an 'umbrella' gives you even more protection beyond any coverage you already have. Always make sure you're covered by checking policy limits and going a bit beyond what you might need, just to be on the safe side.
- Additional policy endorsements. If you own a lot of machinery, equipment, and tools, then protect those with policy riders that protect the value, so you can get replacements when a vital item is stolen or becomes inoperable.
What is Covered Under Plumber's Liability Policies?
Before purchasing California plumbing insurance, it is important that you review your policy and compare its coverages to your potential risks. You want to look for any gaps in your liability coverage or any policy exclusions that might leave you holding the financial bag if someone drops a lawsuit or claim in your lap.
Be sure that your policy covers:
- Damages that might be caused by you or employees when working on a new construction. This includes leaking water lines, work delays, building material damage and other potential scenarios.
- Pipe damage to existing pipes. In existing structures, replacing pipes damaged can be an expensive prospect. Be sure your policy covers you.
- Gas explosions caused by your work. If you damage a structure and cause a gas explosion, extensive damage can result. Check to be sure you're protected in the case of a claim against you.
Becoming a savvy plumber business owner means protecting what you have with the right amount of California plumbing insurance and the policy limits that protect your business. Work with a licensed agent to find the best policy, the appropriate coverage, and any riders or police add-ons based on your individual needs.
CA Plumber's Risks & Exposures
Premises liability exposures at the contractor's shop or office are generally limited due to lack of public access. If there are retail sales, customers may slip, trip or fall while on the premises. Outdoor storage may present vandalism and attractive nuisance hazards.
Off-premises exposures are extensive. Plumbing work can be invasive, resulting in a high potential for property damage. The area of operation should be restricted by barriers and proper signage to protect the public from slips and falls over tools, power cords, building materials, and scrap. Plumbers can damage customers' premises when removing old plumbing and piping and installing new. Welding presents potential for burns or setting the property of others on fire if not conducted safely.
In enclosed structures, buildup of fumes from adhesives or sewer gases can result in bodily injury. Personal injury exposures include assault and battery and invasion of privacy. Background checks should be conducted for any employee who will have regular contact with customers. The use of subcontractors as well as any contractual liability exposures should be examined.
Completed operations liability exposures can occur if the plumbing or piping is not properly installed, resulting in leaks or water damage. Bacteria from leaking sewage connections can cause illness, as well as substantial property damage from hidden mold and fungus.
In larger jobs, such as sprinkler installation, accidental discharge or the failure of the system to operate properly represents a potentially catastrophic exposure from water damage or fire. If the plumber installs natural gas household appliances, poor connections can result in carbon monoxide poisoning.
Workers compensation exposures vary based on the size and nature of the job. Cuts, scrapes and even amputations from cutting tools may occur and become infected from contaminated materials or sewage. Back injuries, hernias, strains, sprains can result from lifting. Burns from welding operations can occur both at the yard site and job site. Welding should be conducted in well-ventilated areas to reduce the exposure to injury from fire, fumes, and vapors which can cause eye, skin, and lung irritations.
If the contractor does any excavation to connect to utilities or to install sprinklers and irrigation systems, bodily injury can result from digging and trenching. When work is done on ladders and scaffolds, there is a potential for severe injury or death from falling, being struck by falling objects, or adverse weather conditions. The absence of good maintenance of scaffolds, proper use of basic safety equipment, and strict enforcement of safety practices may indicate a morale hazard.
Property exposures may be limited to an office only or include retail sales, shop operations and a yard for storage. If the contractor constructs their own piping, the potential for fire or explosion increases due to sparks and flames produced by the welding process and storage of gas cylinders on premises. Welding involves the use of tanks of gases that must be stored and handled properly to avoid loss.
There should be basic controls such as chained storage in a cool area and the separation of welding operations either in a separate room or with flash/welding curtains away from flammables. PVC piping may release toxic fumes should a fire occur. Plastic piping typically uses adhesives that contain a flammable solvent. Handling and storage of flammables need good controls. If repair work on vehicles and equipment is done in the building, fire hazards may be much higher.
Crime exposure is primarily from employee dishonesty. Background checks, including criminal history, should be performed on all employees providing services to customers or handling money. All ordering, billing and disbursement should be handled as separate duties with reconciliations occurring regularly. Theft can be a high exposure if inventories of valuable metals, such as copper or brass, are stored.
Inland marine exposures include accounts receivable if the plumber offers credit to customers, computers, contractors' equipment, goods in transit, installation floater, and valuable papers and records for customers' and suppliers' information. Contractors' equipment includes employees' tools and equipment that may be rented, leased or borrowed from others for specific jobs.
The goods in transit exposure includes supplies (adhesives, caulking, welding tanks) and materials to be installed. Hazards in transit include shifting and oversized loads. Improper loading or inadequate tie down poses a serious loss potential. Oversized loads can be damaged by collision. Equipment at a job site can be damaged by drops from heights, weather damage, or by vehicles. Equipment and supplies left at job sites are subject to theft and vandalism.
Environmental impairment exposures arise from the removal, transport, and disposal of waste and old insulating materials removed from structures. As some of these materials may be contaminated with waste or include lead piping and asbestos insulation, disposal procedures must adhere to all EPA and other regulatory standards. Proper written procedures and documentation of all processes is important. Training and supervision of employees are critical.
Commercial auto exposures include the transportation of workers, equipment and materials to and from job sites. There may be transportation of hazardous waste to approved landfills. All drivers must be well trained and have valid licenses for the type of vehicle being driven. MVRs must be run on a regular basis. Random drug and alcohol testing should be conducted. Vehicles must be well maintained with records kept in a central location. Drivers may need a hazardous materials ("hazmat") endorsement to transport some waste and old insulating materials removed from structures.
California Economic Data, Regulations & Limits On Commercial Insurance
If you are an entrepreneur and you considering having your operations located in California, it's essential that you have a full understanding about the economy of the state, as well as the regulations and limits that are in place for commercial insurance.
If you are considering opening up a business in the Golden State, you first want to make sure that it is a sound location for your operations. That means that you should understand some key information related to the state's economy, as well as the types of insurance coverages that businesses are legally required to carry.
Economic Trends For Businesses In California
In terms of job creation, the state of California exceeds rate of job growth in the United States; however, as the state's metropolitan areas are reaching employment capacity, job growth is starting to slow. In 2017, the rate of growth was 2.1 percent, which is the slowest rate of growth since 2011; but it is still expected to increase by 1.8 percent by the end of 2018, and 1.2 percent by the end of 2021.
In the month of April, the unemployment rate in California dropped to 4.2 percent, which is a record low. This unemployment rate is expected to remain consistent for the rest of the calendar year; however, it's forecasted that the rate will start to increase in 2021.
The strongest labor market in the state is in the Bay Area, where the unemployment rate was 3.4 percent in 2017. Southern California follows, with an unemployment rate of 4.5 percent in 2017. In the Central Coast region, the rate was 5.4 percent and in the Central Valley, it was 6.6 percent. While the unemployment rate is considered high in these areas, they have decreased dramatically over the last 12 month period.
The industries that are expected to see the most growth in CA include:
- Information Technology
CA Commercial Insurance Regulations And Limits
The California Department of Insurance regulates insurance in the Golden State. In the state of CA, commercial liability insurance is not required; however, since the state does not cap rewards for liability law suits, business owners are wise to invest in this type of coverage. The amount of coverage recommended varies depending on the size of the business and in the industry.
Workers' compensation insurance is the only type of coverage that business owners are required to have. This applies to any organization that employs a salaried or hourly staff, even if that staff only consists of one employee. Furthermore, if an employee is injured or becomes ill as a result of work, business owners must pay for CA workers' comp benefits.
Additional Resources For Contractors & Home Improvement Insurance
Learn about small business contractor's insurance, including what it covers, how much it costs - and how commercial insurance can help protect your contracting business from lawsuits.
- Air Conditioning Systems Installation Repair
- Appliance Repair & Service
- Blacksmith & Metal Workers
- Boat Repair & Dry Docks
- Boiler Contractors
- Builders Risk
- Building Cleaning & Maintenance Services
- Cabinet Installer
- Cable And Satellite TV Installer
- Chimney Sweep
- Cistern Contractors
- Contractor Liability
- Curtain Cleaners
- Deck Builders
- Door And Window Installers
- Dryer Vent Cleaning
- Drywall Contractor
- Electrical Contractors
- Environmental Remediation Contractors
- Fence Installation
- Fire Sprinkler Contractors
- Fire & Water Restoration Contractors
- Flooring Contractor
- Furniture Repair
- Garage Door Installer And Repair
- General Contractors
- Glass Contractor
- Glazier Insurance
- Gutter Installation And Repair
- House Cleaning
- HVAC Contractor
- Insulation Contractor
- Janitorial Cleaning Services
- Lawn Care
- Lawn Irrigation Sprinkler System Installation
- Oil And Gas Well Drilling Contractors
- Paperhanging Contractors
- Plastering And Stucco Contractor
- Pressure Washing Contractors
- Propane And Fuel Dealers
- Rug, Upholstery & Carpet Cleaning
- Sandblasting Contractors
- Security Alarm
- Septic Tank Cleaning
- Siding Contractor
- Sign Installation & Repair
- Solar Panel Installers
- Snow Plow
- Stone And Tile Installer
- Surety Bonds
- Swimming Pool Contractor
- Swimming Pool Service And Maintenance
- Tool Grinding And Repair
- Tree Surgeon
- Tree Trimming
- Tank Cleaners
- Upholstery Shop
- Waste Haulers & Garbage Collection
- Water Well Drilling
- Welding Contractor
- Wildlife & Pest Control
- Window Cleaning
A contractor that wants to begin or stay in business, liability coverage must be obtained for the premises or operations, off-site locations and products/completed operations exposures. These coverages may be included as a part of a businessowners policy (BOP) or purchased in a commercial general liability (CGL) policy. Owners and contractors protective liability and railroad protective liability coverages may also be required in certain cases in order for a contractor to obtain a particular job.
Physical damage coverage for tools, supplies and equipment, both on and off the contractor's premises, is a concern. Liability exposures at the premises of the contractor, and at the premises of the contractor's customer, must be properly addressed along with completed operations. Business insurance is very important as is workers compensation insurance protection for employees.
Contractors may work under a general contractor as a subcontractor in larger construction projects - like a new commercial site or residential subdivision. They can work on smaller projects directly with a home owner, usually specializing in renovations or remodels.
In business insurance speak, often called 'artisan contractors' or 'casual contractors', they are involved in many aspects of construction and contracting work – and include various trades and skills. Carpenters, painters, plumbers, electricians, roofers, tree trimmers, landscaping are just a few examples. They may do roofing, fencing, drywall, tile work and many other trades that involve skilled work with tools at the customer's premises.
An artisan contractor performs a single trade or job, and each has its own specialized liability needs with its own exposures to risk and accidents. Contractors liability insurance can offer coverage for bodily injury, property damage, advertising injury and medical payments.
Most artisan contractors should have commercial general liability at the very least, but many need broader coverages - like an umbrella to increase their limits of liability, inland marine policy to protect their tools, workers compensation if they have employees, and even commercial auto if they use vehicles for business purposes.
Minimum recommended small business insurance coverage: Business Personal Property, Employee Dishonesty, Contractors' Equipment and Tools, General Liability, Employee Benefits Liability, Umbrella Liability, Automobile Liability and Physical Damage, Hired and Non-owned Auto & Workers Compensation.
Other commercial insurance policies to consider: Building, Business Income with Extra Expense, Earthquake, Flood, Leasehold Interest, Real Property Legal Liability, Accounts Receivable, Builders Risk, Computers, Goods in Transit, Installation Floater, Valuable Papers and Records, Cyber Liability, Employment-related Practicesand Stop Gap Liability.
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